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[suhl-fer] /ˈsʌl fər/
Also, especially British, sulphur. Chemistry. a nonmetallic element that exists in several forms, the ordinary one being a yellow rhombic crystalline solid, and that burns with a blue flame and a suffocating odor: used especially in making gunpowder and matches, in medicine, in vulcanizing rubber, etc. Symbol: S; atomic weight: 32.064; atomic number: 16; specific gravity: 2.07 at 20° C.
sulphur (def 2).
Origin of sulfur
1300-50; Middle English sulphur < Latin sulpur, sulphur, sulfur brimstone, sulfur Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for sulfur
  • The observatory also warned of lethal levels of sulfur dioxide near the vents.
  • It too is composed mostly of iron, plus substantial amounts of sulfur and nickel.
  • Coal has lots of pollution problems besides sulfur and nitrogen compounds.
  • Bacteria that can live on sulfur in hydrothermal vents would seem promising.
  • Of course, we'll have cold snaps in the future, after we've commenced with out sulfur dioxide injections into the stratosphere.
  • And sulfur has been used as a wine preservative since antiquity.
  • sulfur dioxide carries health risks when it cycles out of the stratosphere.
  • And please no intentional sulfur injection into atmosphere or similar technocratic lunacies.
  • Thankfully, sulfur emissions from volcanoes and human coal burning cause global cooling.
  • Use horticultural oil either alone or mixed with lime sulfur or fixed copper.
British Dictionary definitions for sulfur


the US preferred spelling of sulphur


  1. an allotropic nonmetallic element, occurring free in volcanic regions and in combined state in gypsum, pyrite, and galena. The stable yellow rhombic form converts on heating to monoclinic needles. It is used in the production of sulphuric acid, in the vulcanization of rubber, and in fungicides. Symbol: S; atomic no: 16; atomic wt: 32.066; valency: 2, 4, or 6; relative density: 2.07 (rhombic), 1.957 (monoclinic); melting pt: 115.22°C (rhombic), 119.0°C (monoclinic); boiling pt: 444.674°C related adjective thionic
  2. (as modifier): sulphur springs
Derived Forms
sulphuric, (US) sulfuric (sʌlˈfjʊərɪk) adjective
Word Origin
C14 soufre, from Old French, from Latin sulfur
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for sulfur

also sulphur, c.1300, from Old French soufre (13c.), from Late Latin sulfur, from Latin sulphur, probably from a root meaning "to burn." Ousted native brimstone and cognate Old English swefl.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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sulfur in Medicine

sulfur sul·fur or sul·phur (sŭl'fər)
Symbol S
A yellow nonmetallic element occurring widely in nature in several free and combined allotropic forms and used in the manufacture of pharmaceuticals and many sulfur compounds, especially sulfuric acid. Atomic number 16; atomic weight 32.066; melting point (rhombic) 112.8°C; (monoclinic) 119.0°C; boiling point 444.6°C; specific gravity (rhombic) 2.07; (monoclinic) 1.957; valence 2, 4, 6.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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sulfur in Science
sulfur also sulphur
Symbol S
A pale-yellow, brittle nonmetallic element that occurs widely in nature, especially in volcanic deposits, minerals, natural gas, and petroleum. It is used to make gunpowder and fertilizer, to vulcanize rubber, and to produce sulfuric acid. Atomic number 16; atomic weight 32.066; melting point (rhombic) 112.8°C; (monoclinic) 119.0°C; boiling point 444.6°C; specific gravity (rhombic) 2.07; (monoclinic) 1.957; valence 2, 4, 6. See Periodic Table.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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