vitriol

[ vi-tree-uh l ]
/ ˈvɪ tri əl /

noun

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.

Nearby words

  1. vitrifaction,
  2. vitrification,
  3. vitriform,
  4. vitrify,
  5. vitrine,
  6. vitriolic,
  7. vitriolize,
  8. vitro,
  9. vitro-,
  10. vitrum

Origin of vitriol

1350–1400; Middle English < Medieval Latin vitriolum, vitreolum, equivalent to Latin vitre(us) vitreous + -olum, neuter of -olus -ole1

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

Examples from the Web for vitriol


British Dictionary definitions for vitriol

vitriol

/ (ˈvɪtrɪˌɒl) /

noun

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

Word Origin and History for vitriol

vitriol

n.

late 14c., "sulphate of iron," from Old French vitriol (13c.), from Medieval Latin vitriolum "vitriol," from neuter of vitriolus, from Late Latin vitreolus "of glass," from Latin vitreus "of glass, glassy," from vitrium "glass" (see vitreous). So called from its glassy appearance in certain states. Meaning "bitter or caustic feelings" first attested 1769, in reference to the corrosive properties of vitriol (when heated it produces sulfuric acid, formerly called oil of vitriol).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Medicine definitions for vitriol

vitriol

[ vĭtrē-ōl′, -əl ]

n.

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.

Science definitions for vitriol

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.