sul·​try | \ ˈsəl-trē How to pronounce sultry (audio) \
sultrier; sultriest

Definition of sultry

1a : very hot and humid : sweltering a sultry day
b : burning hot : torrid a sultry sun
2a : hot with passion or anger
b : exciting or capable of exciting strong sexual desire sultry glances

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from sultry

sultrily \ ˈsəl-​trə-​lē How to pronounce sultrily (audio) \ adverb
sultriness \ ˈsəl-​trē-​nəs How to pronounce sultriness (audio) \ noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for sultry


damp, humid, muggy, sticky



Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Examples of sultry in a Sentence

In the one Manet Stephen owned, Young Woman Reclining in Spanish Costume (1862–1863), the plump young model provokes us with her sultry gaze, her awkward semi-recumbent position, her casually defiant cross-dressing in a male torero's shiny trousers, and the come-hither implication of her highlighted hands … — John Updike, New York Review of Books, 5 Oct. 2006 As the fireflies entertain humans all summer long with a magical light show, they are actually cruising the sultry nights in search of love. "Male fireflies fly around flashing their advertisement," says evolutionary ecologist Sara Lewis of Tufts, one of the authors of the study, which appeared in the journal Science recently. — Betsy Mason, Orlando Sentinel, 22 July 2001 In an age when the gangsta rapper is king and pubescent boy and girl groups rule the charts with a tough … version of adolescent bubble-gum pop, Toni Braxton is an anomaly. Her sultry good looks, rich, husky contralto and ability to deliver a line with such mature conviction make her seem older, more experienced than her 26 years. — Gordon Chambers, Essence, April 1994 She looked at him with a sultry glance. an actress with a sultry voice
See More

Recent Examples on the Web

In a Gucci menswear blouse covered in a map of the world, the star continued his bohemian fashion reinvention without taking any attention away from his wife’s sultry look. Janelle Okwodu, Vogue, "Of Course Beyoncé Is Wearing Jay-Z Merch," 18 July 2018 And its music and sultry black-and-white cinematography are infectious. Alissa Wilkinson, Vox, "“I wanted to make it a beautiful disaster”: Pawel Pawlikowski on his new film Cold War," 21 Dec. 2018 The sultry track off his latest album, Texoma Shore, is widely known to be about Blake's girlfriend, Gwen Stefani. Kelly O'sullivan, Country Living, "Hear Blake Shelton's Cheeky Response When Carson Daly Asked About Gwen Stefani," 9 Dec. 2018 Hype yourself and play some sultry tunes to set the tone, or even your favorite artist to get you relaxed…bust a few moves even! Iman Hariri-kia, Teen Vogue, "Teens' Biggest Sex Questions Answered By Their Peers," 13 Nov. 2018 The dark, sultry vibes and intimate cocktail seating arrangements, are meant to bring you into the high-wattage, glamorous world of the show's namesake creator. Juliana Shallcross, Condé Nast Traveler, "10 Best Shows to See in Las Vegas," 27 Feb. 2018 The brand says the colors are suitable for all skin tones and have both a natural and sultry effect. Marci Robin, Allure, "Camilla Cabello Is Launching a Havana-Inspired Makeup Collection With L’Oréal Paris," 9 July 2018 The 21-year-old attended a Bulgari dinner in Rome, literally glittering in a sultry gold dress. Erica Gonzales, Harper's BAZAAR, "Bella Hadid Shines in a Sexy Gold Versace Dress," 28 June 2018 While Kim Kardashian West‘s first KKW Fragrance shoot for her initial three fragrance launches was super minimal, sultry and romantic, the beauty mogul decided to go a totally different route for the next iteration of her fragrances. Kaitlyn Frey,, "See Kim Kardashian Shoot Her Sexy, Retro Campaign for Her Valentine's Day-Edition KKW Fragrances," 30 Jan. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'sultry.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of sultry

1594, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for sultry

obsolete English sulter to swelter, alteration of English swelter

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about sultry

Dictionary Entries near sultry



sul tasto




Sulu Archipelago

Statistics for sultry

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for sultry

The first known use of sultry was in 1594

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for sultry



English Language Learners Definition of sultry

: very hot and humid
: attractive in a way that suggests or causes feelings of sexual desire


sul·​try | \ ˈsəl-trē How to pronounce sultry (audio) \
sultrier; sultriest

Kids Definition of sultry

: very hot and humid sultry summer weather

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on sultry

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for sultry

Spanish Central: Translation of sultry

Nglish: Translation of sultry for Spanish Speakers

Comments on sultry

What made you want to look up sultry? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to affect and impair by alcohol or a drug

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Words from Greek and Latin Quiz

  • roman forum
  • Which of the following months comes from a Latin word for “ten”?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!