One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1mass noun The chemical element of atomic number 16, a yellow combustible non-metal.‘we should use coal which contains less sulphur’as modifier ‘the islands are also renowned for their thermal springs and sulphur baths’
- ‘Coal is a solid organic material made up of large, complex molecules containing mostly carbon, plus small amounts of hydrogen, sulfur, nitrogen and oxygen.’
- ‘Boron, silicon, nitrogen, phosphorus and sulfur are among the most prevalent of the elements other than carbon that form covalent compounds.’
- ‘Stainless steel is an alloy composed of various percentages of iron, nickel, sulfur, carbon, silicon, manganese, and chromium.’
- ‘Potassium, a macronutrient for plants, is present in plant dry matter next to carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, and nitrogen and before sulphur and phosphorus.’
- ‘Other elements added to improve characteristics include nickel, molybdenum, copper, titanium, aluminum, silicon, niobium, nitrogen, sulfur, and selenium.’
- ‘Nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, sulphur and boron have been found to be important in Zambia.’
- ‘Along with carbon, they include elements such as hydrogen, oxygen, fluorine, chlorine, bromine, sulphur or nitrogen.’
- ‘Potassium also reacts readily with all acids and with many nonmetals, such as sulfur, fluorine, chlorine, phosphorus, and nitrogen.’
- ‘Aluminum was named for one of its most important compounds, alum, a compound of potassium, aluminum, sulfur and oxygen.’
- ‘Life in the Universe - as we know it - began with the synthesis of some key elements: hydrogen, carbon, oxygen, nitrogen, sulphur, and phosphorus.’
- ‘Because iron has an affinity electronegative atoms such as oxygen, nitrogen and sulfur, these atoms are found at the heart of the iron-binding centers of macromolecules.’
- ‘Chlorosis is a common symptom of deficiencies of other nutrients such as nitrogen, sulphur, and magnesium.’
- ‘In the burning process most carbon, nitrogen and sulphur are lost in gaseous form, whereas phosphorus, potassium and calcium are retained in the ash.’
- ‘Oxygen is a particularly strong embrittling agent for molybdenum and tungsten; nitrogen and sulfur are particularly harmful in wrought chromium.’
- ‘Most of your mass is carbon, oxygen, hydrogen, sulfur, plus some nitrogen and phosphorous.’
- ‘Acid rain results when sulfur and nitrogen compounds - products of fossil fuel combustion - rise into the atmosphere and combine with water.’
- ‘These include iron, calcium, sulfur, manganese, molybdenum, zinc, boron, and copper.’
- ‘The first is the ‘bulk’ elements, which include calcium, phosphorus, sulfur, potassium, chlorine, sodium, and magnesium.’
- ‘Calcium, sulphur, magnesium, aluminium, iron, copper, zinc and manganese were measured by atomic absorption spectrophotometry.’
- ‘It combines easily with many non-metals, including nitrogen, sulfur, phosphorus, and the halogens.’
- 1.1 The material of which hellfire and lightning were formerly believed to consist.
- ‘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.’
- 1.2 A pale greenish-yellow colour.as modifier ‘the bird's sulphur-yellow throat’
- ‘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.’
- ‘Among aromatic double-flowered tulips we have the sulphur yellow ‘Monte Carlo’ and the golden ‘Hoangho’.’
2An American butterfly with predominantly yellow wings that may bear darker patches.
- ‘Swallowtails, cabbage whites, skippers, and orange sulphurs follow scent trails to the tiny patches of flowers blooming furiously in the middle of the city.’
- ‘Create a shallow puddle to attract swallowtails, blues, sulfurs and other butterflies that enjoy drinking at mud puddles.’
- ‘The sulfur butterflies, Colias philodice and C. eurytheme, are economic pests of alfalfa and clover crops.’
- ‘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.’
- ‘There are certain minerals that some butterflies, such as swallowtails, sulfurs, and blues need that are not provided in a diet of nectar alone.’
Disinfect or fumigate with sulphur.
- ‘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.’
- ‘By far the best method of sulphuring is by using liquid sulphur dioxide from a cylinder, also called bottled sulphur dioxide.’
- ‘Of course just as with candied fruit, ‘sulphuring’ can leave a chemical taste behind, which is why it's nearly impossible to find ‘sulphured’ molasses in grocery stores today, even if you wanted to.’
- ‘Fruits may be pretreated by sulfuring, salt solution, ascorbic acid solution, or steam blanching.’
- ‘The wine was then handled like a white wine, cool fermented and sulphured once dry.’
The traditional British spelling is sulphur and the US spelling is sulfur. In chemistry and other technical uses, however, the -f- spelling is now the standard form for this and related words in British as well as US contexts, and is increasingly used in general contexts as well
Middle English: from Anglo-Norman French sulfre, from Latin sulfur, sulphur.
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