I have heard that acids taste sour because of hydrogen (I don't really know exactly). According to the definition of acids:

An acid (from the Latin acidus/acēre meaning sour) is a chemical substance whose aqueous solutions are characterized by a sour taste, the ability to turn blue litmus red, and the ability to react with bases and certain metals (like calcium) to form salts

Some acids may not contain hydrogen. Would they also taste sour?

  • 4
    $\begingroup$ Could you provide an example of acid, which does not contain hydrogen and you would like to put it in your mouth? $\endgroup$
    – ssavec
    Commented Oct 20, 2013 at 14:43
  • $\begingroup$ This has to do with molecules interacting with taste receptors, so could it possibly be a question more appropriate for Biology.SE? $\endgroup$ Commented Oct 20, 2013 at 15:03

1 Answer 1


Look at the Wikipedia article on sourness for an explanation of that. But you also really need to really read a basic introduction to acid/base chemistry, because the question does not make much sense… Acids are, by definition, substances that increase the concentration of H+ ions in an aqueous solution.

  • $\begingroup$ but something without hydrogen can be acidic(low pH and pKa and high pOH and pKb). Several oxides are this way and they don't have hydrogen, just some element(other than hydrogen) and oxygen $\endgroup$
    – Caters
    Commented Aug 9, 2014 at 17:13
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @Caters are you referring to cases such as $\ce{P4O10}$ or $\ce{CO2}$? If so, those compounds react with water to create the corresponding hydrogen-containing and hydrogen-releasing acids $\ce{H3PO4}$ and $\ce{H2CO3}$ respectively. $\endgroup$
    – Jan
    Commented Sep 28, 2015 at 12:35

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