Definition of sulfur
: a nonmetallic element that occurs either free or combined especially in sulfides and sulfates, is a constituent of proteins, exists in several allotropic forms including yellow orthorhombic crystals, resembles oxygen chemically but is less active and more acidic, and is used especially in the chemical and paper industries, in rubber vulcanization, and in medicine for treating skin diseases — see element table
sulfuryor chiefly British
sulphuryplay \-ē\ adjective
Is it sulfur or sulphur?
The spelling sulfur predominates in U.S. technical usage, while both sulfur and sulphur are common in general usage. British usage tends to favor sulphur for all applications. The same pattern is seen in most of the words derived from sulfur.
Recent Examples of sulfur from the Web
The report’s investigative team has previously concluded that chlorine and sulfur mustard — commonly known as mustard gas — were used as weapons in Syria.
Apply an iron product in tandem with a sulfur soil acidifier to help keep the iron in a soluble form.
According to the court, this process created pollutants like coal tar, sulfur and ammonia, which were often buried at plant sites.
Tongue scrapers are an effective way to minimize the odor by scraping the sulfur away.
No chemicals, no oaky new barrels, no filtering, and little-to-no-sulfur.
Those who attended the garden tour got to see Domanski-Miville’s foxtail lilies in bloom — tall, odd wands of sulfur yellow.
Volcanoes have kicked up a little more sunlight-reflecting sulfur, and solar activity has been a little quieter—neither of which could have been predicted in advance.
Use elemental sulfur to amend the soil in the spring and fall to help lower the pH — this is a slow process and should be done yearly.
These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'sulfur.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.
Origin and Etymology of sulfur
Middle English sulphur brimstone, from Latin sulpur, sulphur, sulfur
First Known Use: 14th centurySee Words from the same year
SULFUR Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of sulfur for English Language Learners
chemistry : a yellow chemical element that has a strong, unpleasant odor when it is burned and that is used in making paper, gunpowder, medicine, etc.
SULFUR Defined for Kids
Definition of sulfur for Students
: a yellow chemical element that is found widely in nature and is used in making chemicals and paper
Medical Definition of sulfur
: a nonmetallic element that occurs either free or combined especially in sulfides and sulfates, is a constituent of proteins, exists in several allotropic forms including yellow orthorhombic crystals, resembles oxygen chemically but is less active and more acidic, and is used especially in the chemical and paper industries, in rubber vulcanization, and in medicine for treating skin diseases—symbol S; see element table
Medical Definition of sulfur
: of, relating to, or resembling sulfur : containing or impregnated with sulfur
Seen and Heard
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