• synonyms


  1. Chemistry. a salt or ester of sulfuric acid.
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verb (used with object), sul·fat·ed, sul·fat·ing.
  1. to combine, treat, or impregnate with sulfuric acid, a sulfate, or sulfates.
  2. to convert into a sulfate.
  3. Electricity. to form a deposit of lead-sulfate compound on (the lead electrodes of a storage battery).
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verb (used without object), sul·fat·ed, sul·fat·ing.
  1. to become sulfated.
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Origin of sulfate

From the New Latin word sulphātum, dating back to 1780–90. See sulfur, -ate2
Related formssul·fa·tion, nounsu·per·sul·fate, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for sulfate

Historical Examples

  • And he was using Epsom salts—the sulfate, and magnesium citrate as laxatives.

    Cum Grano Salis

    Gordon Randall Garrett

  • Sulfate of alumina neutralizes one-third of its weight of caustic.

    Soap-Making Manual

    E. G. Thomssen

  • The most readily available nitrogen in commercial form is that which is afforded by nitrate of soda and sulfate of ammonia.

  • To accomplish this the sulfate should be suspended at the surface of the water in a bag.

    Ginseng and Other Medicinal Plants

    A. R. (Arthur Robert) Harding

  • It must be remembered that the sulfate of alumina is added only for the fresh lye put into the tank.

    Soap-Making Manual

    E. G. Thomssen

Word Origin and History for sulfate


1790 (sulphat), from French sulphate (1787), from Modern Latin sulphatum acidum, from Latin sulpur, sulphur (see sulfur) + chemical ending -ate (3). The spelling with -ph- is standard in Britain.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

sulfate in Medicine


  1. A salt or ester of sulfuric acid.
  2. The bivalent group SO4.
  3. A chemical compound containing such a group.
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  1. To treat or react with sulfuric acid or a sulfate.
  2. To become sulfated.
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The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

sulfate in Science


  1. A salt or ester of sulfuric acid, containing the group SO4.
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The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.