What does sour mean?

Definitions for sour
saʊər, ˈsaʊ ərsour

This dictionary definitions page includes all the possible meanings, example usage and translations of the word sour.

Princeton's WordNet

  1. sournoun

    a cocktail made of a liquor (especially whiskey or gin) mixed with lemon or lime juice and sugar

  2. sour, sourness, tartnessnoun

    the taste experience when vinegar or lemon juice is taken into the mouth

  3. sourness, sour, acidityadjective

    the property of being acidic

  4. sour, rancidadjective

    smelling of fermentation or staleness

  5. souradjective

    having a sharp biting taste

  6. souradjective

    one of the four basic taste sensations; like the taste of vinegar or lemons

  7. off, sour, turnedadjective

    in an unpalatable state

    "sour milk"

  8. false, off-key, souradjective

    inaccurate in pitch

    "a false (or sour) note"; "her singing was off key"

  9. dark, dour, glowering, glum, moody, morose, saturnine, sour, sullenverb

    showing a brooding ill humor

    "a dark scowl"; "the proverbially dour New England Puritan"; "a glum, hopeless shrug"; "he sat in moody silence"; "a morose and unsociable manner"; "a saturnine, almost misanthropic young genius"- Bruce Bliven; "a sour temper"; "a sullen crowd"

  10. sour, turn, ferment, workverb

    go sour or spoil

    "The milk has soured"; "The wine worked"; "The cream has turned--we have to throw it out"

  11. sour, acidify, acidulate, acetifyverb

    make sour or more sour


  1. sournoun

    Any cocktail containing lemon or lime juice.

  2. sourverb

    To make or become sour.

    Too much lemon juice will sour the recipe.

  3. sourverb

    To become disenchanted.

    We broke up after our relationship soured.

  4. souradjective

    Having an acidic, sharp or tangy taste.

    Lemons have a sour taste.

  5. souradjective

    Peevish or bad-tempered.

    He gave me a sour look.

  6. souradjective

    Unfortunate or unfavorable.

  7. Etymology: From sour, from sur, from sūraz, from sūr-. Cognate with zuur, sauer, sur, súr.

Samuel Johnson's Dictionary

  1. SOURnoun

    Etymology: sur, surig , Saxon; sur, Welsh.

    All sour things, as vinegar, provoke appetite. Francis Bacon.

    Their drink is sour. Hos. iv. 18.

    But let the bounds of licences be fix’d,
    Not things of disagreeing natures mix’d,
    Not sweet with sour, nor birds with serpents join’d. Dryden.

    He was a scholar,
    Lofty and sour to them that lov’d him not. William Shakespeare, H VIII.

    A man of pleasant and popular conversation, rather free than sour and reserved. Henry Wotton, Life of the Duke of Buckingham.

    Tiberius, otherwise a very sour man, would punctually perform this rite unto others, and expect the same. Brown.

    He said a sour thing to Laura the other day. Tatler.

    Sullen and sour, with discontented mien
    Jocasta frown’d. Alexander Pope.

    Let me embrace these sour adversities;
    For wise men say it is the wisest course. William Shakespeare, H. VI.

    The lord treasurer often looked on me with a sour countenance. Gulliver’s Travels.

  2. Sournoun

    Acid substance.

    Etymology: from the adjective.

    A thousand sours to temper with one sweet,
    To make it seem more dear and dainty. Edmund Spenser.

  3. To Sourverb

    His angelick nature had none of that carnal leven which ferments to the souring of ours. Decay of Piety.

    Thus kneaded up with milk, the new made man
    His kingdom o’er his kindred world began;
    ’Till knowledge misapply’d, misunderstood,
    And pride of empire, sour’d his balmy blood. Dryden.

    One passion, with a different turn,
    Makes wit inflame or anger burn:
    So the sun’s heat, with diff’rent pow’rs,
    Ripens the grape, the liquor sours. Jonathan Swift.

    Tufts of grass sour land. John Mortimer, Husbandry.

    Hail, great king!
    To sour your happiness, I must report
    The queen is dead. William Shakespeare, Cymbeline.

    He brought envy, malice, and ambition into Paradise, which soured to him the sweetness of the place. Dryden.

    Not my own disgrace
    Hath ever made me sour my patient cheek,
    Or bend one wrinkle on my sovereign’s face. William Shakespeare.

    Three crabbed mouths had sour’d themselves to death,
    Ere I could make thee open thy white hand. William Shakespeare.

  4. To Sourverb

    Asses milk, when it sours in the stomach, and whey, turned sour, will purge strongly. John Arbuthnot, on Diet.

    They keep out melancholy from the virtuous, and hinder the hatred of vice from souring into severity. Addison.

    If I turn my eyes from them, or seem displeased, they sour upon it. Spectator.


  1. sour

    To be sour is to evoke the taste that detects acidity.


  1. sour

    Sour refers to something that has a taste resembling that of a lemon or vinegar, sharp and acidic. It can also describe a situation or behavior that is unpleasant or disagreeable. In general, it signifies an experience that provokes a negative, often strong, response.

Webster Dictionary

  1. Sour

    having an acid or sharp, biting taste, like vinegar, and the juices of most unripe fruits; acid; tart

  2. Sour

    changed, as by keeping, so as to be acid, rancid, or musty, turned

  3. Sour

    disagreeable; unpleasant; hence; cross; crabbed; peevish; morose; as, a man of a sour temper; a sour reply

  4. Sour

    afflictive; painful

  5. Sour

    cold and unproductive; as, sour land; a sour marsh

  6. Sournoun

    a sour or acid substance; whatever produces a painful effect

  7. Sourverb

    to cause to become sour; to cause to turn from sweet to sour; as, exposure to the air sours many substances

  8. Sourverb

    to make cold and unproductive, as soil

  9. Sourverb

    to make unhappy, uneasy, or less agreeable

  10. Sourverb

    to cause or permit to become harsh or unkindly

  11. Sourverb

    to macerate, and render fit for plaster or mortar; as, to sour lime for business purposes

  12. Sourverb

    to become sour; to turn from sweet to sour; as, milk soon sours in hot weather; a kind temper sometimes sours in adversity

  13. Etymology: [AS. srian to sour, to become sour.]


  1. Sour

    A sour is a traditional family of mixed drinks; the word itself is often used as a post-positive adjective when in the name of a drink. Common examples of sours are the margarita and the sidecar. Sours belong to one of the old families of original cocktails and are described by Jerry Thomas in his 1862 book How to Mix Drinks. Sours are mixed drinks containing a base liquor, lemon or lime juice, egg white, and a sweetener.

Chambers 20th Century Dictionary

  1. Sour

    sowr, adj. having a pungent, acid taste: turned, as milk: rancid: crabbed or peevish in temper: bitter: cold and wet, as soil.—v.t. to make sour or acid: to make cross, peevish, or discontented.—v.i. to become sour or acid: to become peevish or crabbed.—n. Sour′-crout (see Sauer-kraut).—adj. Sour′-eyed, morose-looking.—ns. Sour′-gourd, the cream-of-tartar tree; Sour′ing, vinegar: the crab-apple: the process in bleaching fabrics that follows the treatment with bleaching-powder, consisting in treatment of the fabric with hydrochloric or sulphuric acid, so as to wash out the lime.—adj. Sour′ish, somewhat sour.—adv. Sour′ly, in a sour manner: with acidity: with acrimony: discontentedly.—ns. Sour′ness, the state of being sour: acidity: peevishness: discontent; Sour′-sop, a tree of tropical America and its fruit, closely allied to the custard-apple: (prov.) an ill-natured person. [A.S. súr; Ger. sauer, Ice. súrr.]

Suggested Resources

  1. sour

    Song lyrics by sour -- Explore a large variety of song lyrics performed by sour on the Lyrics.com website.

  2. SOUR

    What does SOUR stand for? -- Explore the various meanings for the SOUR acronym on the Abbreviations.com website.

Surnames Frequency by Census Records

  1. SOUR

    According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Sour is ranked #77788 in terms of the most common surnames in America.

    The Sour surname appeared 246 times in the 2010 census and if you were to sample 100,000 people in the United States, approximately 0 would have the surname Sour.

    63% or 155 total occurrences were White.
    30% or 74 total occurrences were Asian.
    3.2% or 8 total occurrences were Black.
    2% or 5 total occurrences were of Hispanic origin.

Matched Categories

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How to say sour in sign language?


  1. Chaldean Numerology

    The numerical value of sour in Chaldean Numerology is: 9

  2. Pythagorean Numerology

    The numerical value of sour in Pythagorean Numerology is: 1

Examples of sour in a Sentence

  1. Debasish Mridha, M.D.:

    Your ability is your power. Other's opinions can make it sour.

  2. Pearl Bailey:

    There is a period of life when we swallow knowledge of ourselves and it becomes either good or sour inside.

  3. John Fout:

    We want people to think outside the box when it comes to yogurt. Whether you use it as a marinade [the acid in yogurt tenderize meat without cooking it like juice], a replacement for sour cream or a sauce on its own.

  4. Arabic Proverb:

    Ask not a man who his father was but make trial of his qualities, and then conciliate or reject him accordingly. For it is no disgrace to new wine, if only it be sweet, as to its taste, that it was the juice [or daughter] of sour grapes.

  5. Stefan Worrall:

    We're seeing a perfect storm of the kind of negativity that feeds into people's fears and underscores the dangers lurking in a market where sentiment is very sensitive, it's unsurprising the yen's recent weakness has reversed given the sour macro sentiment arising from events like the natural disaster, the failure of the OPEC meeting to follow through on the encouraging promise it had shown, as well as smaller geopolitical risks like the impeachment going on in Brazil.

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Translations for sour

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"sour." Definitions.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2024. Web. 23 May 2024. <https://www.definitions.net/definition/sour>.

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