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90s Slang You Should Know


[uh-sur-bi-tee] /əˈsɜr bɪ ti/
sourness, with roughness or astringency of taste.
harshness or severity, as of temper or expression.
Origin of acerbity
From the Latin word acerbitās, dating back to 1565-75. See acerbic, -ity Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for acerbity
Historical Examples
  • "Thank ye kindly," the big man replied with some acerbity, and plunged out into the darkness and rain.

    Bob, Son of Battle Alfred Ollivant
  • Much annoyed, I answered with some acerbity, bidding her kindly to be gone.

    Fibble, D. D. Irvin Shrewsbury Cobb
  • "Of course we like good manners, though they are not your weakness," interrupts his wife, with acerbity.

  • After a time Mern suggested with acerbity that Craig was incoherent.

  • Several ladies were in there, buying perfumes, and they looked with acerbity at this disordered dirty female entering among them.

    Saint's Progress John Galsworthy
  • "I have no doubt he is a thief," continued Aunt Maria, with acerbity.

    Phil the Fiddler Horatio Alger, Jr.
  • Instead of heeding this witness she went on with acerbity: "It might surely have occurred to you that something would come up."

    What Maisie Knew Henry James
  • "And a jolly lot that means to me," retorted Masters, with acerbity.

    The Tempering Charles Neville Buck
  • His acerbity passed away, and in later life was reserved exclusively for official witnesses before parliamentary committees.

  • "Certainly not that of Evolution," she said with some acerbity.

    The Song of the Wolf Frank Mayer
British Dictionary definitions for acerbity


noun (pl) -ties
vitriolic or embittered speech, temper, etc
sourness or bitterness of taste
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
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Word Origin and History for acerbity

1570s, from Middle French acerbité, from Latin acerbitatem (nominative acerbitas) "harshness, sharpness, bitterness," from acerbus "bitter to taste, sharp, sour, tart" (related to acer "sharp;" cf. Latin superbus "haughty," from super "above"), from Proto-Italic *akro-po- "sharp," from PIE *ak- "sharp" (see acrid). Earliest use in English is figurative, of "sharp and bitter" persons. Of tastes, from 1610s.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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