[ vi-tree-uhl ]
/ ˈvɪ tri əl /


Chemistry. any of certain metallic sulfates of glassy appearance, as copper sulfate or blue vitriol, iron sulfate or green vitriol, zinc sulfate or white vitriol, etc.
oil of vitriol; sulfuric acid.
something highly caustic or severe in effect, as criticism.

verb (used with object), vit·ri·oled, vit·ri·ol·ing or (especially British) vit·ri·olled, vit·ri·ol·ling.

to treat with or as with vitriol, especially sulfuric acid.



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Origin of vitriol

1350–1400; Middle English <Medieval Latin vitriolum, vitreolum, equivalent to Latin vitre(us)vitreous + -olum, neuter of -olus -ole1 Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2020

Example sentences from the Web for vitriol

British Dictionary definitions for vitriol

/ (ˈvɪtrɪˌɒl) /


another name for sulphuric acid
any one of a number of sulphate salts, such as ferrous sulphate (green vitriol), copper sulphate (blue vitriol), or zinc sulphate (white vitriol)
speech, writing, etc, displaying rancour, vituperation, or bitterness

verb -ols, -oling, -oled, -olling or -olled (tr)

to attack or injure with or as if with vitriol
to treat with vitriol

Word Origin for vitriol

C14: from Medieval Latin vitriolum, from Late Latin vitriolus glassy, from Latin vitrum glass, referring to the glossy appearance of the sulphates
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

Medical definitions for vitriol

[ vĭtrē-ōl′, -əl ]


Any of various sulfates of metals, such as ferrous sulfate, zinc sulfate, or copper sulfate.
sulfuric acid
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

Scientific definitions for vitriol

[ vĭtrē-ōl′, -əl ]

A former name for sulfuric acid.
Any of various sulfates of metals, such as ferrous sulfate (green vitriol), zinc sulfate, or copper sulfate (blue vitriol). See also blue vitriol.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.