[ suhl-fahyt ]

  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.

Origin of sulfite

First recorded in1780–90; sulf(ur) + -ite1

Other words from sulfite

  • sul·fit·ic [suhl-fit-ik], /sʌlˈfɪt ɪk/, adjective

Words Nearby sulfite Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use sulfite in a sentence

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

  • In the most common process the reagent is calcium sulfite, made by passing sulfur fumes (SO2) into lime water.

    Creative Chemistry | Edwin E. Slosson
  • But the sulfite liquors of the paper mills are being worked up successfully into industrial alcohol.

    Creative Chemistry | Edwin E. Slosson
  • A combination of ground and sulfite wood makes the paper now used for news-print.

    How To Write Special Feature Articles | Willard Grosvenor Bleyer

Scientific definitions for sulfite


[ sŭlfīt′ ]

  1. A salt or ester of sulfurous acid, containing the group SO3.

The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.