The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48:
Sulphuric \Sul*phu"ric\, a. [Cf. F. sulfurique.]
1. Of or pertaining to sulphur; as, a sulphuric smell.
2. (Chem.) Derived from, or containing, sulphur;
specifically, designating those compounds in which the
element has a higher valence as contrasted with the
sulphurous compounds; as, sulphuric acid.
(a) Sulphur trioxide (see under Sulphur); -- formerly so
called on the dualistic theory of salts. [Obs.]
(b) A heavy, corrosive, oily liquid, H2SO4, colorless
when pure, but usually yellowish or brownish, produced
by the combined action of sulphur dioxide, oxygen
(from the air), steam, and nitric fumes. It attacks
and dissolves many metals and other intractable
substances, sets free most acids from their salts, and
is used in the manufacture of hydrochloric and nitric
acids, of soda, of bleaching powders, etc. It is also
powerful dehydrating agent, having a strong affinity
for water, and eating and corroding paper, wood,
clothing, etc. It is thus used in the manufacture of
ether, of imitation parchment, and of nitroglycerin.
It is also used in etching iron, in removing iron
scale from forgings, in petroleum refining, etc., and
in general its manufacture is the most important and
fundamental of all the chemical industries. Formerly
called vitriolic acid, and now popularly vitriol,
and oil of vitriol.
Fuming sulphuric acid, or Nordhausen sulphuric acid. See
Disulphuric acid, under Disulphuric.
Sulphuric anhydride, sulphur trioxide. See under Sulphur.
Sulphuric ether, common anaesthetic ether; -- so called
because made by the catalytic action of sulphuric acid on
alcohol. See Ether, 3