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Related to sour: sour grapes, spur

(as) sour as vinegar

Particularly unpleasant, disagreeable, peevish, or ill-tempered. After such a broken night of sleep, I woke up feeling as sour as vinegar. Her words were sour as vinegar when she greeted us.
See also: sour, vinegar

go sour

To become unpleasant or troubling. Those two are bickering all the time now—I hope their relationship hasn't gone sour. Don’t bring up politics unless you want things to go sour real fast!
See also: go, sour

hit a sour note

To indicate, introduce, or allude to something particularly unfortunate, unpleasant, or disagreeable. News of my father's passing hit quite a sour note before my graduation ceremony. No one in the family brought attention to David's drinking problem until it started hitting a sour note at their holiday get-togethers.
See also: hit, note, sour

leave a sour taste in (one's) mouth

To have a persistent negative effect on someone after an offending incident has ended. I know Kelly's your friend, but she was so rude at dinner—it just left a sour taste in my mouth. Of course Andrew not inviting me to his party leaves a sour taste in my mouth.
See also: leave, mouth, sour, taste

sour cherry

A tart variety of cherry. I can't stand sour cherries, so these better be sweet ones!
See also: cherry, sour

sour grapes

Criticism or disparagement of that which one cannot have. The phrase originated in one of Aesop's fables, in which a fox that cannot reach some grapes deems them sour and therefore undesirable. He always mocks sports cars as being really impractical, but it's just sour grapes, if you ask me.
See also: grape, sour

sour note

A particularly unfortunate, unpleasant, or disagreeable topic of news, information, or conversation. News of my father's passing hit quite a sour note before my graduation ceremony. The CEO's speech at the Annual General Meeting ended on quite a sour note when he announced that there would be company-wide pay cuts and layoffs.
See also: note, sour

sour on (someone or something)

To become less happy or enthusiastic about someone or something; to begin to dislike or be repelled by someone or something, especially someone or something that had been liked or favored. I was really interested in film studies when I first got into college, but I soured on it after I started encountering the obnoxious, elitist types of people who specialize in that field. I don't know why, but John always sours on the women he dates after only a couple of weeks.
See also: on, sour

sour stomach

An unpleasant sensation that typically includes gastrointestinal symptoms like nausea, indigestion, and bloating. The phrase can be used with or without an article preceding it. Bill has a sour stomach now after eating all that spicy food at dinner. I have sour stomach a lot, so I always keep antacids with me.
See also: sour, stomach

strike a sour note

To indicate, introduce, or allude to something particularly unfortunate, unpleasant, or disagreeable. You definitely struck a sour note when you brought up Dan's ex-girlfriends during your best man speech.
See also: note, sour, strike


1. Containing sugary and acidic ingredients blended together. I've had the same bottle of sweet-and-sour sauce in my cupboard for the last five years. These sweet-and-sour gummies are delicious, but they'll give you a stomach ache if you eat too many!
2. Cooked in or with a sauce containing blended sugar and vinegar. Usually in reference to Chinese and Chinese-style cuisine. Personally, I think the sweet-and-sour chicken is the best thing they serve here. Have you tried Sarah's sweet-and-sour dumplings? They're absolutely delicious!

turn sour

To become unpleasant or troubling. Those two are bickering all the time now—I hope their relationship hasn't turned sour. Don’t bring up politics unless you want things to turn sour real fast!
See also: sour, turn

go sour

Fig. to turn bad or unpleasant. It looks like all my plans are going sour. My whole life is going sour right now.
See also: go, sour

*sour as vinegar

1. [of something] very sour. (*Also: as ~.) This milk is as sour as vinegar. The juice they gave us is sour as vinegar.
2. [of someone] ill-natured and disagreeable. (Fig. on {2}. *Also: as ~.) The old man greeted us ill-naturedly, his face as sour as vinegar. Jill: Is Mary in a bad mood today? Jane: Yes, sour as vinegar.
See also: sour, vinegar

sour grapes

Fig. something that one cannot have and so disparages as if it were never desirable. of course you want to buy this expensive jacket. Criticizing it is just sour grapes, but you still really want it.
See also: grape, sour

strike a sour note

 and hit a sour note
Fig. to signify something unpleasant. Jane's sad announcement struck a sour note at the annual banquet. News of the accident hit a sour note in our holiday celebration.
See also: note, sour, strike

sweet and sour

a combination of fruity sweet and sour, but not necessarily salty, flavors. (Typically referring to certain Chinese-American foods.) I prefer sweet-and-sour pork to anything else on the menu. Alice does not care for sweet-and-sour dishes, but she will usually eat whatever we serve her.
See also: and, sour, sweet

sour grapes

Disparaging what one cannot obtain, as in The losers' scorn for the award is pure sour grapes. This expression alludes to the Greek writer Aesop's famous fable about a fox that cannot reach some grapes on a high vine and announces that they are sour. In English the fable was first recorded in William Caxton's 1484 translation, "The fox said these raisins be sour."
See also: grape, sour

sour on

Become disenchanted with, take a dislike to, as in At first they liked the new supervisor, but now they've soured on her. [c. 1860]
See also: on, sour

sour grapes

COMMON If you describe someone's attitude as sour grapes, you mean that they are jealous of another person's success and show this jealousy by criticizing that person. These accusations have been going on for some time now, but it is just sour grapes. The government says that Mr Fedorov's criticisms are mere sour grapes. Note: In one of Aesop's fables (= traditional stories, usually with a moral), a fox tries several times unsuccessfully to reach a bunch of delicious-looking grapes. In the end he gives up, telling himself that they are probably sour and inedible anyway.
See also: grape, sour

strike (or sound) a — note

express a feeling or view of a particular kind.
2000 Times John McCain …was expected to strike a hawkish note last night, calling for the upgrading of the Armed Forces.
See also: note, strike

sour grapes

an attitude in which someone disparages or pretends to despise something because they cannot have it themselves.
In Aesop's fable The Fox and the Grapes, the fox, unable to reach the tempting bunch of grapes, comforts himself with the thought that they were probably sour anyway.
1998 New Scientist At 66, I can be acquitted of any sour grapes, but I feel sorry for younger MPs…[who] have all been passed over.
See also: grape, sour

go/turn ˈsour

become less enjoyable, pleasant or good: Relations between the two nations have recently gone sour.
See also: go, sour, turn

sour ˈgrapes

(saying) used to describe the behaviour of somebody who pretends that something they cannot have is of little value or interest: When she failed the entrance exam, she started saying that she never wanted to go to college anyway, but I think that’s just sour grapes.This idiom comes from one of Aesop’s fables. A fox cannot reach some grapes so he decides that they are not ready to eat.
See also: grape, sour

go sour

in. to turn bad or unpleasant. My whole life is going sour right now.
See also: go, sour

sour grapes

Disparaging what one cannot but would like to have. This term comes from the punch line of one of Aesop’s most famous fables, delivered by the fox when she finds she cannot reach some grapes on a very high vine. It has been used ever since to describe putting down what one can’t attain.
See also: grape, sour
References in periodicals archive ?
Salad dressing: In case sour cream is in short supply, then you can use sour milk in its place to make rich dressings like blue cheese.A A
Berries were determined to have sour rot if they had a visual disease rating of 3 or 4 and an acetic acid content of at least 0.83 g/L (based on the ranges detected in field samples).
Below is my single review of Stone Sour's brand new lead single 'Fabuless' from the band's soon-to-be-released studio album 'Hydrograd' from Roadrunner Records.
Another famous sour beer style from Belgium is Flanders Red, which has both lactic (bright, lemony) and acetic (vinegary) acids, and tastes a bit like beer with sherry vinegar in it.
Dr Al Jaber said: "The inauguration of Al Hosn Shah Sour Gas Development Project is an important milestone for Adnoc as we maximise the value of Abu Dhabi s gas resources to meet the United Arab Emirates and the world's growing demand.
Target: Kakwa sour natural gas processing complex and associated infrastructure, engineering studies, licenses and surface rights for the future construction of a sour natural gas processing facility
" Duraid Laham is the voice of our national conscious as he is more than an artist, an actor or a movie or theatre star, therefore " Sour" is proud to honor him who doesn't lack honoring as he is honored in the heart and conscious of every honest and free person.
"Many consumers have grown up with those tart and 'puckery' flavors, from candy like Sour Patch Kids and historically we've seen a trend toward more complex and intense flavors," Chapman said.
Tesco Everyday Value Sweet & Sour Chicken with Rice has 48.4g per serving, while its Thai Chicken Pad Thai Rice Noodles comes in at 37.8g.
The brewery's La Folie is a wood-aged, sour brown that spends one to three years in foeders.
"Sweet and Sour Power (The Witches of Danarobbeth)" is a clever, colorfully illustrated fantasy nature tale about a mythical battle of smells between the Sweets, or sweet flower witches who loved creating flower perfumes and the Sours, or stinky green witches who loved stinkweed and other noxious smelling weeds.
Sour waters or mineral acidulous waters can be found in abundance in the Canary Islands, due to the fact that the islands are entirely of volcanic origin.
Based on the reports, world's annual sour cherry output hits 1.200.000 tons, 107, 000 tons of which are produced in Iran.
Keep your eye shadow neutral and sour lips a natural shade of pink.