Origin of sour

before 1000; (adj. and noun) Middle English sure, soure, Old English sūr (orig. adj.); cognate with German sauer, Dutch zuur, Old Norse sūrr; (v.) Middle English souren, derivative of the adj.
Related formssour·ish, adjectivesour·ly, adverbsour·ness, nouno·ver·sour, adjectiveo·ver·sour·ly, adverbo·ver·sour·ness, nounun·sour, adjectiveun·sour·ly, adverbun·sour·ness, noun

Synonyms for sour

Antonyms for sour

1. sweet.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for souring

Contemporary Examples of souring

  • Frustrated by her souring relationship with Salinger, Maynard fixated on the idea of having a daughter.

  • Political independents are also souring on Obama, with just 37 percent approving of his job performance, a 10-point drop.

  • Of the high hopes that characterize the Western Aliyah (immigration) souring so dramatically, so brutally.

    The Daily Beast logo
    What Prisoner X Scandal?

    Gil Troy

    February 20, 2013

  • And then—five days later, with the polls showing Americans souring on the Lebanon policy—Reagan decided to pull the troops out.

    The Daily Beast logo
    How Romney Is Like Reagan

    Peter Beinart

    June 20, 2011

  • Where you once cold-shouldered friends without warning, you now realize you did so out of fear that they were souring on you.

    The Daily Beast logo
    Zodiac Beast

    Starsky + Cox

    April 9, 2011

Historical Examples of souring

British Dictionary definitions for souring



a variant spelling of Sur



having or denoting a sharp biting taste like that of lemon juice or vinegarCompare bitter (def. 1)
made acid or bad, as in the case of milk or alcohol, by the action of microorganisms
having a rancid or unwholesome smell
(of a person's temperament) sullen, morose, or disagreeable
(esp of the weather or climate) harsh and unpleasant
disagreeable; distastefula sour experience
(of land, etc) lacking in fertility, esp due to excessive acidity
(of oil, gas, or petrol) containing a relatively large amount of sulphur compounds
go sour or turn sour to become unfavourable or inharmonioushis marriage went sour


something sour
mainly US any of several iced drinks usually made with spirits, lemon juice, and icea whiskey sour
an acid used in laundering and bleaching clothes or in curing animal skins


to make or become sour
Derived Formssourish, adjectivesourly, adverbsourness, noun

Word Origin for sour

Old English sūr; related to Old Norse sūrr, Lithuanian suras salty, Old Slavonic syrŭ wet, raw, surovu green, raw, Sanskrit surā brandy
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

Word Origin and History for souring



Old English sur "sour, tart, acid, fermented," from Proto-Germanic *sura- "sour" (cf. Old Norse surr, Middle Dutch suur, Dutch zuur, Old High German sur, German Sauer), from PIE root *suro- "sour, salty, bitter" (cf. Old Church Slavonic syru, Russian syroi "moist, raw;" Lithuanian suras "salty," suris "cheese").

French sur "sour, tart" (12c.) is a Germanic loan-word. Meaning :having a peevish disposition" is from early 13c. Sense in whisky sour (1885) is "with lemon added" (1862). Sour cream is attested from 1855.



c.1300, from sour (adj.). Cf. Old High German suren, German säuern. Related: Soured; souring.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper