Definition of sulfur in English:


Syllabification: sul·fur
Pronunciation: /ˈsəlfər
(chiefly British also sulphur)


  • 1The chemical element of atomic number 16, a yellow combustible nonmetal. (Symbol: S)
    More example sentences
    • Potassium also reacts readily with all acids and with many nonmetals, such as sulfur, fluorine, chlorine, phosphorus, and nitrogen.
    • Other elements added to improve characteristics include nickel, molybdenum, copper, titanium, aluminum, silicon, niobium, nitrogen, sulfur, and selenium.
    • Along with carbon, they include elements such as hydrogen, oxygen, fluorine, chlorine, bromine, sulphur or nitrogen.
  • 1.1The material of which hellfire and lightning were believed to consist.
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    • The first Muslims saw that sulphur has qualities that do not exist in other stones, so they thought that it would be the fuel of Hell.
    • Neither the white-dwarf theory nor the the black-hole theory can explain the presence of sulfur (‘brimstone’) in the lake of fire, if it is to be taken literally.
  • 1.2A pale greenish-yellow color: [as modifier]: the bird’s sulfur-yellow throat
    More example sentences
    • Among aromatic double-flowered tulips we have the sulphur yellow ‘Monte Carlo’ and the golden ‘Hoangho’.
    • What they have in common are ball-like clusters of flowers of a bright sulfur yellow that fades to a softer orange-yellow as the seeds form.
    • Each stem carries up to 10 nodding sulphur coloured flared bell shaped flowers, growing from a base of deep green foliage that has attractive mottled markings.
  • Sulfur occurs uncombined in volcanic and sedimentary deposits, as well as being a constituent of many minerals and petroleum. It is normally a bright yellow crystalline solid, but several other allotropic forms can be made. Sulfur is an ingredient of gunpowder, and is used in making matches and as an antiseptic and fungicide

  • 2An American butterfly with predominantly yellow wings that may bear darker patches.
    • Colias, Phoebis, and other genera, family Pieridae
    More example sentences
    • Create a shallow puddle to attract swallowtails, blues, sulfurs and other butterflies that enjoy drinking at mud puddles.
    • Swallowtails, cabbage whites, skippers, and orange sulphurs follow scent trails to the tiny patches of flowers blooming furiously in the middle of the city.
    • The coyote approached a patch of wet earth where a dozen or more butterflies - monarchs and sulphurs - were getting a morning drink, and the insects scattered.


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  • Disinfect or fumigate with sulfur.
    More example sentences
    • Recent experiments suggest that sulphuring an inverted barrel but not bunging up results in a much lower level of volatile acids since bunging up creates a humid environment, ideal for the growth of bacteria.
    • The wine was then handled like a white wine, cool fermented and sulphured once dry.
    • Fruits may be pretreated by sulfuring, salt solution, ascorbic acid solution, or steam blanching.



More example sentences
  • Some pints even end up tasting of sulphury eggs, or goats' cheese.
  • The sky turned from light blue to sulphury yellow.
  • Cover with ‘cooking’ water (as tap water will leave a sulfury, metallic taste not consistent with traditional Jewish cooking).


Middle English: from Anglo-Norman French sulfre, from Latin sulfur, sulphur.


The standard US spelling is sulfur; sulphur is the traditional British spelling. However, the -f- spelling is now standard in scientific and technical writing in the UK, and is increasingly used in other contexts as well.

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Word of the day skosh
Pronunciation: skəʊʃ
a small amount; a little