Meaning of SOUR in English


I. ˈsau̇(-ə)r adjective

Etymology: Middle English, from Old English sūr; akin to Old High German sūr sour, Lithuanian sūrus salty

Date: before 12th century

1. : causing or characterized by the one of the four basic taste sensations that is produced chiefly by acids

sour pickles

— compare bitter , salt , sweet



(1) : having the acid taste or smell of or as if of fermentation : turned

sour milk

(2) : of or relating to fermentation

b. : smelling or tasting of decay : rancid , rotten

sour breath


(1) : bad , wrong

a project gone sour

(2) : hostile , disenchanted

went sour on Marxism


a. : unpleasant , distasteful

b. : cross , sullen

c. : not up to the usual, expected, or standard quality or pitch

4. : acid in reaction — used especially of soil

5. : containing malodorous sulfur compounds — used especially of petroleum products

• sour·ish ˈsau̇(-ə)r-ish adjective

• sour·ly adverb

• sour·ness noun

II. noun

Date: before 12th century


a. : something sour

b. : the primary taste sensation produced by acid stimuli

2. : a cocktail consisting of a liquor (as whiskey), lemon or lime juice, sugar, and sometimes ice

III. verb

Date: 14th century

intransitive verb

: to become sour

transitive verb

: to make sour

Merriam-Webster's Collegiate English vocabulary.      Энциклопедический словарь английского языка Merriam Webster.