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[suhl-tree] /ˈsʌl tri/
adjective, sultrier, sultriest.
oppressively hot and close or moist; sweltering:
a sultry day.
oppressively hot; emitting great heat:
the sultry sun.
characterized by or associated with sweltering heat:
sultry work in the fields.
characterized by or arousing passion:
sultry eyes.
Origin of sultry
1585-95; sult(e)r (variant of swelter) + -y1
Related forms
sultrily, adverb
sultriness, noun
unsultry, adjective
1. oppressive, stifling, humid. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for sultriness
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • The sultriness that precedes an emotional crisis weighed heavily upon him.

    The Story Of Kennett Bayard Taylor
  • The water was inviting, with the sultriness of the afternoon.

    The Rival Campers Ashore Ruel Perley Smith
  • The sun came out, increasing the sultriness of the day, while the dead calm still held.

    South Sea Tales Jack London
  • What with the dancing and the sultriness of the weather, the night was about as hot as an oven.

    Johnny Ludlow. First Series Mrs. Henry Wood
  • Not a breath of air was stirring; a dead, oppressive calm, like the sultriness of noonday, had settled down on land and water.

    Canoe Boys and Campfires William Murray Graydon
  • Upon him and his mother lay the sultriness of a brewing tempest.

    The Burning Secret Stefan Zweig
  • Growing tired at last, and exhausted by the excessive heat and sultriness of the day, we returned to our friend, the trader.

    The Oregon Trail Francis Parkman, Jr.
  • The sultriness of the day was deepening, and seemed to carry a threat with it.

    Painted Windows Elia W. Peattie
  • July was waning, and already an August sultriness was in the air.

    Contrary Mary Temple Bailey
British Dictionary definitions for sultriness


adjective -trier, -triest
(of weather or climate) oppressively hot and humid
characterized by or emitting oppressive heat
displaying or suggesting passion; sensual: sultry eyes
Derived Forms
sultrily, adverb
sultriness, noun
Word Origin
C16: from obsolete sulter to swelter + -y1
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 sultriness



1590s, "oppressively hot, close and moist" (of weather), from obsolete verb sulter "to swelter" (1580s), alteration of swelter. Figurative sense of "hot with lust" is attested from 1704; of women, "lascivious, sensual, arousing desire" it is recorded from 1940.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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