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Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English
sulfur dioxide
Douglas Harper's Etymology Dictionary

also sulphur, c.1300, from Anglo-French sulfere, Old French soufre "sulfur, fire and brimstone, hellfire" (13c.), later also sulphur, from Late Latin sulfur, from Latin sulphur, probably from a root meaning "to burn." Ousted native brimstone and cognate Old English swefl, German schwefel, Swedish swafel, Dutch zwavel. The spelling with -ph- is standard in Britain, but its suggestion of a Greek origin is misleading.

  1. Of a yellowish green colour, like that of sulfur. n. 1 (context uncountable English) A chemical element (''symbol'' S) with an atomic number of 16. 2 (context countable uncountable English) A yellowish green colour, like that of sulfur. v

  2. (context transitive English) To treat with sulfur, or a sulfur compound, especially to preserve or to counter agricultural pests.


n. an abundant tasteless odorless multivalent nonmetallic element; best known in yellow crystals; occurs in many sulphide and sulphate minerals and even in native form (especially in volcanic regions) [syn: S, sulphur, atomic number 16]


v. treat with sulphur in order to preserve; "These dried fruits are sulphured" [syn: sulphur]

Sulfur (disambiguation)

Sulfur is a chemical element.

Sulfur or sulphur may also refer to:


  • Coliadinae, a subfamily of butterflies commonly known as the Sulfurs or Yellows
  • Dercas, a genus of Coliadinae commonly called the Sulfurs
  • Colias, a genus of Coliadinae commonly called the Sulfurs (in North America) or Clouded Yellows (elsewhere)
  • Phoebis, a genus of Coliadinae that is not itself called the Sulfurs but that contains a number of species which are


  • Sulphur, Indiana
  • Sulphur, Kentucky
  • Sulphur, Louisiana
  • Sulphur, Nevada, a ghost town and railroad siding at the Kamma Mountains in the Black Rock Desert
  • Sulphur, Oklahoma
  • Sulphur, South Dakota
  • Sulphur Mountain (disambiguation), various mountains
  • Sulphur River in Texas and Arkansas
  • Sulphur Spring, a geyser in Yellowstone National Park
  • Sulphur Springs (disambiguation)
  • Sulphur Creek (disambiguation), multiple


  • The sulfur cycle
  • Sulfur (pharmacy)
  • Sulfur (magazine), a defunct literary magazine
  • Fedora 9, codenamed Sulphur
  • Sulfur (band), an American dark cabaret band.
  • "Sulfur", a song from by Katatonia on the Teargas EP
  • "Sulfur" (song), a single by American heavy metal band Slipknot

Sulfur or sulphur (see spelling differences) is a chemical element with symbol S and atomic number 16. It is an abundant, multivalent non-metal. Under normal conditions, sulfur atoms form cyclic octatomic molecules with chemical formula S. Elemental sulfur is a bright yellow crystalline solid at room temperature. Chemically, sulfur reacts with all elements except for gold, platinum, iridium, nitrogen, tellurium, iodine and the noble gases.

Elemental sulfur occurs naturally as the element ( native sulfur), but most commonly occurs in combined forms as sulfide and sulfate minerals. Being abundant in native form, sulfur was known in ancient times, being mentioned for its uses in ancient India, ancient Greece, China, and Egypt. In the Bible, sulfur is called brimstone. Today, almost all elemental sulfur is produced as a byproduct of removing sulfur-containing contaminants from natural gas and petroleum. The greatest commercial use of the element is the production of sulfuric acid for sulfate and phosphate fertilizers, and other chemical processes. The element sulfur is used in matches, insecticides, and fungicides. Many sulfur compounds are odoriferous, and the smells of odorized natural gas, skunk scent, grapefruit, and garlic are due to organosulfur compounds. Hydrogen sulfide gives the characteristic odor to rotting eggs and other biological processes.

Sulfur is an essential element for all life, but almost always in the form of organosulfur compounds or metal sulfides. Three amino acids ( cysteine, cystine, and methionine) and two vitamins ( biotin and thiamine) are organosulfur compounds. Many cofactors also contain sulfur including glutathione and thioredoxin and iron–sulfur proteins. Disulfides, S–S bonds, confer mechanical strength and insolubility of the protein keratin, found in outer skin, hair, and feathers. Elemental sulfur is not common in higher forms of life, but is both a product and an oxidant for various bacteria.

Sulfur (song)

"Sulfur" is a song by American metal band Slipknot, and is the fourth single from the band's fourth album All Hope Is Gone. The single was released on June 15, 2009, a music video for the single was released on April 18, 2009. It was the last Slipknot music video to feature bassist Paul Gray, who was found dead on May 24, 2010.

The song, along with " Duality" and " Psychosocial", was available for DLC in Rock Band on December 8, 2009.

Sulfur (magazine)

Sulfur: A Literary Tri-Annual of the Whole Art was an influential, small literary magazine founded by American poet and award-winning translator Clayton Eshleman in 1981 while he was Dreyfuss Poet in Residence at the California Institute of Technology.

The name Sulfur references sulphur, a butterfly with orange and yellow wings, bordered in black, as well as the element sulfur in particular in its role in alchemical processes of combustion and transformation. By referencing a butterfly in the title, Eshleman linked the magazine with Caterpillar a previous magazine he founded and edited from 1967 to 1973. By linking the magazine with alchemy, Eshleman was also associating it with Jungian interpretations of alchemical symbols. In a note on the term published in Sulfur 24, Eshleman evoked "imagination as an instrument of change."

Sulfur appeared three times a year from 1981 to 1987 and two times a year from 1988 until its final double issue number 45 / 46 in Spring 2000. Its roughly 11,000 pages included writing and visual art from some 800 contributors, 200 of which were not from the United States.

In addition to poetry and prose by American poets, Eshleman pursued five other principle areas of focus for the magazine: 1. Translations of contemporary foreign-language poets and new translations of untranslated older works. 2. Archival materials by earlier Anglophone writers. 3. Including writings by unknown, typically younger writers in every issue. 4. Commentary including poetics, notes, and book reviews, occasionally polemical in nature. 5. Resource materials including writing from outside of poetry per se.

The magazine was founded following a discussion between Eshleman, Robert Kelly and Jerome Rothenberg. "Sulfur unswervingly presented itself as an alternative to what some of us call 'official verse culture' (backed by The New York Times Book Review, The New York Review of Books, The New Yorker, The Nation, and nearly all trade publishing houses, to the exclusion of contrasting viewpoints)," Eshleman said in an interview when the magazine closed.

The magazine was funded by sales and subscriptions as well as grants from academic and public institutions. The Humanities Division of the California Institute of Technology funded the magazine from 1981 to 1983. The UCLA Extension Writers Program funded issues 10 through 15, from 1984 to 1986. From 1986 to 2000, the English Department at Eastern Michigan University provided limited office support, a part-time graduate assistant, and course release time for Eshleman (then a professor of poetry there). Grants from the National Endowment for the Arts from the mid-1980s until 1996, alongside sales and subscriptions, covered expenses during that period.

During its run of issues, Sulfur maintained a reputation as the premiere publication of alternative and experimental writing. This was due in no small measure to its impressive masthead of contributing editors and correspondents. These included Rachel Blau DuPlessis, Michael Palmer, and Eliot Weinberger as "Contributing Editors". The roster of "Correspondents" included: Charles Bernstein, James Clifford, Clark Coolidge, Jayne Cortez, Marjorie Perloff, Jed Rasula, Jerome Rothenberg, Roberto Tejada, Keith Tuma, Allen S. Weiss, and Marjorie Welish. The managing editor was Clayton Eshleman's wife, Caryl Eshleman.

Issue 33 (Fall 1993) was a special issue entitled Into the Past, edited by Eliot Weinberger. Issue 44 (Spring 1999) was a special issue entitled Anglophone Poetry & Poetics Outside the US and the UK, guest edited by Jenny Penberthy and Marjorie Perloff.

The final issue of Sulfur appeared in spring 2000. In his introduction, Eshleman explained the end of the magazine by citing the ongoing financial challenge of producing a poetry magazine without solid institutional or public support as well as, more significantly, the fact that he wanted to devote more of his time to his own writing.

In 2008, Jacket magazine published a conversation between Clayton Eshleman, Paul Hoover, and Maxine Chernoff on editing Sulfur and New American Writing.Jacket 36

Wesleyan University Press published A Sulfur Anthology edited by Clayton Eshleman in December 2015.


Gary Snyder: In an era of literary conservation and sectarianism, the broad commitment of Sulfur to both literary excellence and broad, interdisciplinary, unbought humanistic engagement with the art of poetry in America has been invaluable. To my notion its critical articles and notes have been the sharpest going over the last several years.

James Laughlin: Sulfur must be the most important literary magazine which has explored and extended the boundaries of poetry. Clayton Eshleman has a nose for smelling out what was going to happen next in the ceaseless evolution of the living art.

George Butterick: Sulfur is Antaeus with a risk. It has efficacy. It has primacy. It is one of the few magazines that is more than a receptacle of talent, actually contributing to the shape of present-day literary engagement.

Marjorie Perloff: Sulfur has been, throughout the 80s and 90s, the very best journal for cutting-edge writing, whether poetry or fiction or criticism. It surpasses the others by not being the organ or mouthpiece of a little clique but bringing together disparate items in an inspired collage.

Charles Bernstein: Much attention has been paid to Sulfur’s selection of poetry, which included work from many unknown and new poets as well as old hands. But equally important was the back section of the magazine, which offered some of the most incisive commentary of the state of the art available, dwarfing the coverage in almost any other venue.

Eliot Weinberger: It’s undeniable that everywhere – and especially in the United States, where literary writers generally do not appear in newspapers or mass-circulation periodicals – the ‘little’ magazine kept literature alive in the 20th century. And it is safe to say that Sulfur was the last significant American little magazine of the century.

Sulfur (band)

Sulfur was an American dark cabaret ensemble formed by Michele Amar in New York City in 1991. It was originally an outlet for Amar's solo work until it expanded drastically with the inclusion of seven members and a number of additional side personnel.

Sulfur (EP)

Sulfur is an EP by Gnaw Their Tongues, independently released on February 20, 2013. The music centers around the theme of World War I and the album artwork is a photograph depicting three Canadian soldiers wounded by mustard gas (otherwise known as sulfur mustard).

Usage examples of "sulfur".

New Atlantan Feed had a higher sulfur content that, when burned, produced a plutonic reek that permeated everything for dozens of miles downwind, making the fires seem much closer than they really were.

Apparently the sulfur bacteria had overgrown the backflow sludge, and coupled with the fungal contamination from the downstream scrubbers created a disgusting mix of smells.

Colonies of a dozen species of slow growing chemoautotrophs had been introduced into a part of the Rift rich with sulfur and ferrous iron.

Colonies of a dozen species of slow-growing chemoautotrophs were introduced into a part of the Rift rich with sulfur and ferrous iron.

The proprietor, Chucho, scratched a sulfur match on the underside of the table, waved it to life, then carefully lit the cigar.

There was also an abundance of sulfur vapor, as well as carbon disulfide and sulfur dioxide.

The Greenlandic hell is not the European rocky landscape with pools of sulfur.

Then he tried the nonmetals, such as tar, plastic, asbestos, even sulfur.

Besides that, the ore also contained other valuable metals like cobalt and the platinum-group metals, as well as nonmetals like sulfur, arsenic, selenium, germanium, phosphorus, carbon.

The air was thick with oxides of nitrogen and sulfur, carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide and carbon tetrachloride, a mixture of industrial wastes that Svetz had been breathing since the day he was born.

While the rolling rotundity of the resounding thunder was drumming up to its last grandeur, a strong stench of sulfur swept down across the sea and hung in spreading fumes upon the sea-wall, until with a sharp crackle as percussive as a square of muskets, another fire, a ball of flaming gas enveloping a thunderstone, darted across the sky and dashed with a hissing explosion into the sea.

Either way, he stood to lose something--the new towboat and the sulfur barges in a big boom if those runaways hit it .

And not just any old coal, but good stuff-low in sulfur, clean burning, most of it near the surface and easily mined.

The stench of sulfur roils up and the gods and goddesses near the edge back away.

The young volcanoes were almost continually active, belching out smoke and ash ladened with sulfur that, mixing with the rain, turned to acid.