9 Grammatical Pitfalls


[vi-tree-uh l] /ˈvɪ tri əl/
Chemistry. any of certain metallic sulfates of glassy appearance, as copper sulfate or blue vitriol, iron sulfate or green vitriol, zinc sulfate or white vitriol, etc.
oil of vitriol; sulfuric acid.
something highly caustic or severe in effect, as criticism.
verb (used with object), vitrioled, vitrioling or (especially British) vitriolled, vitriolling.
to treat with or as with vitriol, especially sulfuric acid.
Origin of vitriol
1350-1400; Middle English < Medieval Latin vitriolum, vitreolum, equivalent to Latin vitre(us) vitreous + -olum, neuter of -olus -ole1 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for vitriol
  • He tells people he's an administrator rather than admitting to being an academic because he wants to avoid their vitriol.
  • My experience is that people who spew that kind of vitriol and hostility towards other human beings are never joking.
  • My new grading method, which set off such waves of vitriol, combined old-fashioned contract grading with peer review.
  • In the meantime there are hundreds of people boiling with rage and vitriol towards her.
  • The vitriol leaves one feeling stained and diminished.
  • If you've never been in their situation, try to imagine it, and stop it with the vitriol.
  • Your vitriol over someone's opinion is misplaced and unhealthy.
  • He's not entirely likable, doesn't seem to care, is full of vim and vitriol and everything is allowed in his worldview.
  • It can connote vitriol, yes, but it can also connote camaraderie.
  • There was little vitriol in his voice, but you can tell he's not happy about it, either.
British Dictionary definitions for vitriol


another name for sulphuric acid
any one of a number of sulphate salts, such as ferrous sulphate (green vitriol), copper sulphate (blue vitriol), or zinc sulphate (white vitriol)
speech, writing, etc, displaying rancour, vituperation, or bitterness
verb (transitive) -ols, -oling, -oled, -olling, -olled
to attack or injure with or as if with vitriol
to treat with vitriol
Word Origin
C14: from Medieval Latin vitriolum, from Late Latin vitriolus glassy, from Latin vitrum glass, referring to the glossy appearance of the sulphates
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 vitriol

late 14c., "sulphate of iron," from Old French vitriol (13c.), from Medieval Latin vitriolum "vitriol," from neuter of vitriolus, from Late Latin vitreolus "of glass," from Latin vitreus "of glass, glassy," from vitrium "glass" (see vitreous). So called from its glassy appearance in certain states. Meaning "bitter or caustic feelings" first attested 1769, in reference to the corrosive properties of vitriol (when heated it produces sulfuric acid, formerly called oil of vitriol).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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vitriol in Medicine

vitriol vit·ri·ol (vĭt'rē-ōl', -əl)

  1. Any of various sulfates of metals, such as ferrous sulfate, zinc sulfate, or copper sulfate.

  2. See sulfuric acid.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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vitriol in Science
  (vĭt'rē-ōl', -əl)   
  1. A former name for sulfuric acid.

  2. Any of various sulfates of metals, such as ferrous sulfate (green vitriol), zinc sulfate, or copper sulfate (blue vitriol). See also blue vitriol.

The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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