• synonyms


noun Chemistry.
  1. a salt or ester of sulfurous acid.
  2. any sulfite-containing compound, especially one that is used in foods or drug products as a preservative and that can cause severe allergic reactions in susceptible individuals: use in fresh fruits and vegetables banned by the FDA in 1986.
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Origin of sulfite

First recorded in 1780–90; sulf(ur) + -ite1
Related formssul·fit·ic [suhl-fit-ik] /sʌlˈfɪt ɪk/, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for sulfite

Historical Examples of sulfite

  • A combination of ground and sulfite wood makes the paper now used for news-print.

    How To Write Special Feature Articles

    Willard Grosvenor Bleyer

  • More than a mere trace of the precipitate proves that some sulfite was used to preserve the meat.

  • But the sulfite liquors of the paper mills are being worked up successfully into industrial alcohol.

    Creative Chemistry

    Edwin E. Slosson

sulfite in Medicine


  1. A salt or ester of sulfurous acid.
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Related formssul•fitic (-fĭtĭk) adj.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

sulfite in Science


  1. A salt or ester of sulfurous acid, containing the group SO3.
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The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.