Definition of sulphurous in English:


(US sulfurous)


  • 1(chiefly of vapour) containing or derived from sulphur.

    ‘wafts of sulphurous fumes’
    • ‘The resultant smoke discharge, together with the palls of sulphurous emissions from the smokestacks of city industry, the lack of wind and the freezing air, resulted in a choking layer of smog that blanketed London.’
    • ‘Water, carbon dioxide, and sulphurous gases are common volcanic gases.’
    • ‘The air is filled with sulphurous gas, the streets are covered with debris from fireworks and rivers are defiled by chemicals.’
    • ‘The vile stench of sulphurous gas pervading a world of darkness broken only by a dull red glow on a distant, invisible horizon.’
    • ‘Hot, sulfurous gases waft from vents in the earth, kill trees, drive away wildlife, and sometimes threaten people's lives.’
    • ‘Passing through plumes of evil-smelling sulphurous smoke and steam, they finally encountered daylight, and emerged from the gaping maw of a volcanic cone.’
    • ‘One side of the main crater spews out sulfurous gases and many people quarry sulfur there for sale.’
    • ‘Waste tyres represent a significant fire risk, which can cause atmospheric pollution through the release of thick clouds of sulphurous black smoke.’
    • ‘Its surface temperature is hot enough to melt lead, and it rains sulphuric acid, but US scientists think there might yet be life on Venus, floating in its sulphurous clouds.’
    • ‘Smoke emissions from the smelter cover the town in a heavy sulphurous mist occasionally accompanied by fall-out of ash.’
    • ‘But gradually, small, picturesque, red-earthern hamlets became large, dreary, grey-brick villages and, as dusk fell, the hazy sun disappeared behind thick sulphurous smog.’
    • ‘Alchemical treatises frequently warned of the hazards of working with sulphurous exhalations and volatile chemicals.’
    • ‘Experts probed the origin of the sulphurous smell which appeared at the beginning of February after calls from worried Benfleet and Canvey residents who were left spluttering.’
    • ‘Western and northerly breezes are our friends, but still summer nights allow the heavy sulfurous gases to settle into our valley.’
    • ‘‘Suddenly,’ she recalls, ‘a fissure splits the surface and billowing clouds of sulfurous gases hurl ice and ash into the sky.’’
    • ‘The sulfurous gases spewed into the atmosphere by Tambora formed aerosol droplets that reflected the sun's rays before they reached the ground.’
    • ‘A recent study published in New Scientist magazine draws a direct link between sulfurous fumes from US smokestacks and 30 years of drought in Africa.’
    • ‘The hot thermal pools are fringed by extraordinarily colourful mineral deposits, while sulphurous steam percolates all around.’
    • ‘Suddenly I was on the barren playas of Tierra del Fuego, the broiling ground belching huge clouds of sulfurous gases into the heavy atmosphere.’
    • ‘The woman and man make their way through the dimness of settling ash and sulfurous mist, their attention divided between their destination and the danger and opportunity around them.’
    1. 1.1 Like sulphur in colour; pale yellow.
      ‘sulphurous yellow lichen’
      • ‘A modest, horizontal rectangle, its center is occupied by a carefully modulated gray scale, shading from light to dark and gently contained on either side by a narrow bar of dry, sulfurous yellow.’
      • ‘As I looked around the theater, the lights half up to a sulfurous yellow gloom after the dancers' exit, I wondered what, in fact, people actually do think about in these circumstances.’
      • ‘An upthrust mountain at center is bathed in an explosion of sulfurous yellow rising above a vaporous veil of green, with the pale-lavender light of something like moonrise off to the right.’
      • ‘Frequently, he pauses to alight and hang beneath the drooping stem of a bluebell to sip nectar, his pale sulphurous wings contrasting splendidly with the deep blue flowers.’
      • ‘In their metamorphosis they pass easily from sandy beige to sulfurous beige, then to amber yellow.’
  • 2Marked by anger or profanity.

    ‘a sulphurous glance’
    • ‘When that brave soldier, Milo Corcoran, ventures out to greet the teams on Tuesday evening, the reception from the stands is likely to be sulphurous.’
    • ‘Even the great Mariette Pacha, father of ‘serious’ Egyptology, drew for Aida costumes that were on the sulfurous side, such as baboons at the feet of Radames!’
    • ‘In Liverpool there is a sulphurous whiff of rebellion - bitter talk, alarming to some, of direct action.’
    • ‘But when the awkward experiment with new language brings no instant reward, he too would retreat to the comfort zone where the Tories fought the last election - in sulphurous clouds of fear, crime, immigration, Europe and mayhem.’
    • ‘The truth is that their anonymous campaigns are born, not out of doing good but out of a sulphurous mixture of envy, resentment and moral cowardice.’
    • ‘Basking in brimstone and pranging another Kennedy with a pitchfork, Richard Nixon smiles sulphurous approval.’
    • ‘But, according to Charles Powell, Mrs Thatcher's foreign policy adviser, Mitterrand was sulphurous in his suspicion of Germany whenever the two leaders spoke privately.’
    • ‘A stylish, sulphurous first feature from director Jose Enrique Fonseca, Man Of The Year (O Homem Do Ano), offers further proof that Brazil is a country whose cinema demands closer investigation.’
    • ‘He is reticent and looks a little embarrassed at the horrible, sulphurous reality of hobnobbing with the most evil man in the world.’
    • ‘Denuded of its sulphurous appeal, it may well be that Sinn Féin may struggle to live up to its own sense of destiny.’


Late Middle English: from Latin sulphurosus, from sulphur (see sulphur).