adjective sul·try \ ˈsəl-trē \
|Updated on: 16 Jul 2018

Definition of sultry

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


play \ˈsəl-trə-lē\ adverb


play \ˈsəl-trē-nəs\ noun

Examples of sultry in a Sentence

  1. 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 UpdikeNew York Review of Books5 Oct. 2006
  2. 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 MasonOrlando Sentinel22 July 2001
  3. 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 ChambersEssenceApril 1994
  4. She looked at him with a sultry glance.

  5. an actress with a sultry voice

Recent Examples of sultry from the Web

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.

Origin and Etymology of sultry

obsolete English sulter to swelter, alteration of English swelter

Other Climate/Meteorology Terms

SULTRY Defined for English Language Learners


Definition of sultry for English Language Learners

  • : very hot and humid

  • : attractive in a way that suggests or causes feelings of sexual desire

SULTRY Defined for Kids


adjective sul·try \ ˈsəl-trē \

Definition of sultry for Students

sultrier; sultriest
: very hot and humid
  • sultry summer weather

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to grant as a privilege or special favor

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