Definition of sulfurous in US English:


(British sulphurous)


  • 1(chiefly of vapor or smoke) containing or derived from sulfur.

    ‘wafts of sulfurous fumes’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Water, carbon dioxide, and sulphurous gases are common volcanic gases.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘‘Suddenly,’ she recalls, ‘a fissure splits the surface and billowing clouds of sulfurous gases hurl ice and ash into the sky.’’
    • ‘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 vile stench of sulphurous gas pervading a world of darkness broken only by a dull red glow on a distant, invisible horizon.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Hot, sulfurous gases waft from vents in the earth, kill trees, drive away wildlife, and sometimes threaten people's lives.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The hot thermal pools are fringed by extraordinarily colourful mineral deposits, while sulphurous steam percolates all around.’
    • ‘Alchemical treatises frequently warned of the hazards of working with sulphurous exhalations and volatile chemicals.’
    • ‘The sulfurous gases spewed into the atmosphere by Tambora formed aerosol droplets that reflected the sun's rays before they reached the ground.’
    • ‘Suddenly I was on the barren playas of Tierra del Fuego, the broiling ground belching huge clouds of sulfurous gases into the heavy atmosphere.’
    • ‘Passing through plumes of evil-smelling sulphurous smoke and steam, they finally encountered daylight, and emerged from the gaping maw of a volcanic cone.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Smoke emissions from the smelter cover the town in a heavy sulphurous mist occasionally accompanied by fall-out of ash.’
    1. 1.1 Sulfureous.
      • ‘Man-made sulphurous particulate matter can even reduce the temperature-raising effect of greenhouse gases.’
      • ‘The water really is a milky blue colour, and it's hot (it's actually the run-off from a geothermal power station), and it smells faintly of sulphurous compounds, and it's half sea-water.’
      • ‘Yorktest hopes to profit from growing awareness of homocysteine - a sulphurous amino acid, which is thought to weaken blood vessels and prepare the way for the furring up caused by some kinds of cholesterol.’
      • ‘If you ever have a piece of one of these in your hand and you take a sniff of it, it really smells like sulphurous oil.’
      • ‘Lack of refining capacity is a problem for the Saudis, because their heavy, sulphurous crude requires more refining to meet American air quality standards.’
      • ‘Formula milk led to an increase in the number of sulphurous bacteria in infants' stomachs, which could contribute later in life to serious conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome.’
      • ‘When the sealed container was opened two weeks ago, a sulphurous white paste was revealed, possibly face cream, and still bore the finger mark of the person who'd used it, 2,000 years ago.’
      • ‘The spa is open seven days a week, and people of all ages come here for cures in the hot sulphurous water (35 degree C).’
      • ‘It means if you are not taking in other sulphurous amino acids.’
      • ‘As a result, Io spews out vast quantities of sulfurous material onto its surface, enough to cover Greater London to a depth of 500 km every year.’
      • ‘For five centuries, the sulphurous water had been recommended for flaking skins and aching joints.’
      • ‘For example, organisms that thrive on the edge of steaming hot sulphurous springs under the sea, deep underground, inside rocks, in arid deserts, inside ice and on soils known to be contaminated.’
      • ‘Also, the aerosol emissions from sulphurous fuel promote the formation of clouds, and as a consequence the sunlight reflected from the earths surface increases, effectively opposing the greenhouse gas effect.’
      • ‘Golf courses, desert safaris and medical tourism (Palmyra is rich in sulphurous water) and marinas are all in the offing.’
      • ‘Tube worms and other animals use bacteria to convert sulphurous minerals into useful substances.’
      • ‘No more of Dante's deformed creatures braised on sulfurous coals, just interminable meaninglessness.’
      • ‘Nearby, the Huka Falls are gushing forth, the sulphurous earth steams eerily and sludgy geysers are grumbling and occasionally completely losing their cool.’
      • ‘The waters were often sulphurous and smelt rather badly of rotten eggs.’
      • ‘Further south is the cave of Xingia, where there is a spring of sulphurous water that bubbles up white, clouding the sea up to 500 metres from shore.’
      • ‘It turns out that the gradient in oxygen, declining to zero in the sulfurous sediments beneath the surface, is an electric gradient as well, and that the worms use this to advantage in producing metabolic fuel.’
    2. 1.2 Like sulfur in color; pale 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.’
      • ‘In their metamorphosis they pass easily from sandy beige to sulfurous beige, then to amber yellow.’
      • ‘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.’
    3. 1.3 Marked by bad temper, anger, or profanity.
      ‘a sulfurous glance’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Denuded of its sulphurous appeal, it may well be that Sinn Féin may struggle to live up to its own sense of destiny.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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!’
      • ‘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.’


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