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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. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for sultry
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • It was sultry, and there was something in the atmosphere that at once threatened and soothed.

    Malbone Thomas Wentworth Higginson
  • He went to the window and gasped in the mists of the sultry air for breath.

    Night and Morning, Complete Edward Bulwer-Lytton
  • The day was sultry, and the heat, even in the dense shade of the jungle, oppressive.

    The Monster Men Edgar Rice Burroughs
  • The day had been humid, warm and sultry, and the doors and windows were open.

    The Fortune Hunter Louis Joseph Vance
  • The day was sultry, and June in all its power ruled the countryside.

    The Coryston Family Mrs. Humphry Ward
British Dictionary definitions for sultry


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 sultry

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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