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bitter

[bit-er] /ˈbɪt ər/
adjective, bitterer, bitterest.
1.
having a harsh, disagreeably acrid taste, like that of aspirin, quinine, wormwood, or aloes.
2.
producing one of the four basic taste sensations; not sour, sweet, or salt.
3.
hard to bear; grievous; distressful:
a bitter sorrow.
4.
causing pain; piercing; stinging:
a bitter chill.
5.
characterized by intense antagonism or hostility:
bitter hatred.
6.
hard to admit or accept:
a bitter lesson.
7.
resentful or cynical:
bitter words.
noun
8.
that which is bitter; bitterness:
Learn to take the bitter with the sweet.
9.
British. a very dry ale having a strong taste of hops.
verb (used with object)
10.
to make bitter:
herbs employed to bitter vermouth.
adverb
11.
extremely; very; exceedingly:
a bitter cold night.
Origin of bitter
1000
before 1000; Middle English, Old English biter; cognate with German bitter, Old Norse bitr, Gothic baitrs; akin to bite
Related forms
bitterish, adjective
bitterly, adverb
bitterness, noun
nonbitter, adjective
overbitter, adjective
overbitterly, adverb
overbitterness, noun
unbitter, adjective
Can be confused
bidder, bitter.
Synonyms
1. acrid, biting, distasteful. 3. distressing, poignant, painful. 4. biting, nipping. 5. fierce, cruel, ruthless, relentless. 7. acrimonious, caustic, sardonic, scornful.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for bitter
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Mauburn had gone to his room to be alone with this bitter news.

    The Spenders Harry Leon Wilson
  • "Let that pass, sir," continued the stranger, with a bitter smile.

  • Well, since rhyming's been my ruin, let me rhyme to the bitter end.

    Ballads of a Bohemian Robert W. Service
  • She could be fierce and wicked; she is ignorant and bitter about many things; I am afraid for her.

    Ester Ried Yet Speaking Isabella Alden
  • Couldst see by his cheek and eye that he is as bitter as verjuice.

    The White Company Arthur Conan Doyle
British Dictionary definitions for bitter

bitter

/ˈbɪtə/
adjective
1.
having or denoting an unpalatable harsh taste, as the peel of an orange or coffee dregs Compare sour (sense 1)
2.
showing or caused by strong unrelenting hostility or resentment: he was still bitter about the divorce
3.
difficult or unpleasant to accept or admit: a bitter blow
4.
cutting; sarcastic: bitter words
5.
bitingly cold: a bitter night
adverb
6.
very; extremely (esp in the phrase bitter cold)
noun
7.
a thing that is bitter
8.
(Brit) beer with a high hop content, with a slightly bitter taste
verb
9.
to make or become bitter
See also bitters
Derived Forms
bitterly, adverb
bitterness, noun
Word Origin
Old English biter; related to bītan to bite
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 bitter
adj.

Old English biter "bitter, sharp, cutting; angry, embittered; cruel," from Proto-Germanic *bitras- (cf. Old Saxon bittar, Old Norse bitr, Dutch bitter, Old High German bittar, German bitter, Gothic baitrs "bitter"), from PIE root *bheid- "to split" (cf. Old English bitan "to bite;" see bite (v.)). Evidently the meaning drifted in prehistoric times from "biting, of pungent taste," to "acrid-tasting." Used figuratively in Old English of states of mind and words. Related: Bitterly.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Idioms and Phrases with bitter
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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