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

Related Words for acerbic

sharp, harsh, caustic, acidic, acrid, astringent, tart

Examples from the Web for acerbic

Contemporary Examples of acerbic

British Dictionary definitions for acerbic



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