[ suhl-tree ]
/ ˈsʌl tri /

WATCH NOW: Why Does The Word "Sultry" Seem Like An Insult?

WATCH NOW: Why Does The Word "Sultry" Seem Like An Insult?

If someone called me "sultry," it would be an immediate turn-off. There’s just something sort of … gross about that word.


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

Examples from the Web for sultry

British Dictionary definitions for sultry


/ (ˈsʌltrɪ) /

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