Definition of sulphurous in English:


(US sulfurous)


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

    ‘wafts of sulphurous fumes’
    • ‘Hot, sulfurous gases waft from vents in the earth, kill trees, drive away wildlife, and sometimes threaten people's lives.’
    • ‘‘Suddenly,’ she recalls, ‘a fissure splits the surface and billowing clouds of sulfurous gases hurl ice and ash into the sky.’’
    • ‘Smoke emissions from the smelter cover the town in a heavy sulphurous mist occasionally accompanied by fall-out of ash.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The hot thermal pools are fringed by extraordinarily colourful mineral deposits, while sulphurous steam percolates all around.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Water, carbon dioxide, and sulphurous gases are common volcanic gases.’
    • ‘Alchemical treatises frequently warned of the hazards of working with sulphurous exhalations and volatile chemicals.’
    • ‘The vile stench of sulphurous gas pervading a world of darkness broken only by a dull red glow on a distant, invisible horizon.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Western and northerly breezes are our friends, but still summer nights allow the heavy sulfurous gases to settle into our valley.’
    • ‘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 air is filled with sulphurous gas, the streets are covered with debris from fireworks and rivers are defiled by chemicals.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Passing through plumes of evil-smelling sulphurous smoke and steam, they finally encountered daylight, and emerged from the gaping maw of a volcanic cone.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The sulfurous gases spewed into the atmosphere by Tambora formed aerosol droplets that reflected the sun's rays before they reached the ground.’
    • ‘Waste tyres represent a significant fire risk, which can cause atmospheric pollution through the release of thick clouds of sulphurous black smoke.’
    • ‘One side of the main crater spews out sulfurous gases and many people quarry sulfur there for sale.’
    1. 1.1Like 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.’
      • ‘In their metamorphosis they pass easily from sandy beige to sulfurous beige, then to amber yellow.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
  • 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.’
    • ‘Basking in brimstone and pranging another Kennedy with a pitchfork, Richard Nixon smiles sulphurous approval.’
    • ‘Denuded of its sulphurous appeal, it may well be that Sinn Féin may struggle to live up to its own sense of destiny.’
    • ‘He is reticent and looks a little embarrassed at the horrible, sulphurous reality of hobnobbing with the most evil man in the world.’
    • ‘In Liverpool there is a sulphurous whiff of rebellion - bitter talk, alarming to some, of direct action.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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!’


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