adjective, sul·tri·er, sul·tri·est.

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 formssul·tri·ly, adverbsul·tri·ness, nounun·sul·try, adjective

Synonyms for sultry Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for sultry

Contemporary Examples of sultry

Historical Examples of sultry

  • It was sultry, and there was something in the atmosphere that at once threatened and soothed.


    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 or -triest

(of weather or climate) oppressively hot and humid
characterized by or emitting oppressive heat
displaying or suggesting passion; sensualsultry eyes
Derived Formssultrily, adverbsultriness, noun

Word Origin for sultry

C16: from obsolete sulter to swelter + -y 1
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 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