[ uh-sur-bik ]
/ əˈsɜr bɪk /


sour or astringent in taste: Lemon juice is acerbic.
harsh or severe, as of temper or expression: acerbic criticism.

Origin of acerbic

1860–65; < Latin acerb(us) sour, unripe, bitterly harsh + -ic, irregular for -ous
Related formsa·cer·bi·cal·ly, adverbun·a·cer·bic, adjectiveun·a·cer·bi·cal·ly, adverb
Can be confusedacerbic acid acrid Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for acerbic

British Dictionary definitions for acerbic


/ (əˈsɜːbɪk) /


harsh, bitter, or astringent; sour

Word Origin for acerbic

C17: from Latin acerbus sour, bitter
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

Word Origin and History for acerbic



1865, originally, and usually, figurative: "sour, harsh, severe" (of speech, manners, etc.), from Latin acerbus "harsh to the taste, sharp, bitter, sour" (see acerbity) + -ic.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper