- having a harsh, disagreeably acrid taste, like that of aspirin, quinine, wormwood, or aloes.
- producing one of the four basic taste sensations; not sour, sweet, or salt.
- hard to bear; grievous; distressful: a bitter sorrow.
- causing pain; piercing; stinging: a bitter chill.
- characterized by intense antagonism or hostility: bitter hatred.
- hard to admit or accept: a bitter lesson.
- resentful or cynical: bitter words.
- that which is bitter; bitterness: Learn to take the bitter with the sweet.
- British. a very dry ale having a strong taste of hops.
- to make bitter: herbs employed to bitter vermouth.
- extremely; very; exceedingly: a bitter cold night.
Origin of bitter
SynonymsSee more synonyms for bitter on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for bitter
There was a collective gasp at both the four-letter word and the bitter sentiment it carried.How Richard Pryor Beat Bill Cosby and Transformed America
David Yaffe, Scott Saul
December 10, 2014
By halftime a crowd of what appeared to be a few hundred people had amassed in the bitter cold.‘I Can’t Breathe’ Makes It Onto the Court for Will and Kate to See
December 9, 2014
But the manner in which the two technology mavens administered their coup de grâce only two months later has left a bitter taste.Facebook Prince Purges The New Republic: Inside the Destruction of a 100-Year-Old Magazine
December 5, 2014
ISIS and the Nusra Front were once aligned under the al Qaeda banner but have been bitter rivals over the past year.The ISIS Wife Swap Mystery
December 3, 2014
Yet even as the Germans wallowed in bitter self-pity, another defeated superpower underwent a dramatic turnaround.The 20th-Century Dictator Most Idolized by Hitler
November 24, 2014
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
Couldst see by his cheek and eye that he is as bitter as verjuice.The White Company
Arthur Conan Doyle
- having or denoting an unpalatable harsh taste, as the peel of an orange or coffee dregsCompare sour (def. 1)
- showing or caused by strong unrelenting hostility or resentmenthe was still bitter about the divorce
- difficult or unpleasant to accept or admita bitter blow
- cutting; sarcasticbitter words
- bitingly colda bitter night
- very; extremely (esp in the phrase bitter cold)
- a thing that is bitter
- British beer with a high hop content, with a slightly bitter taste
- to make or become bitter
Word Origin and History for bitter
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.
Idioms and Phrases with bitter
In addition to the idioms beginning with bitter
- bitter end
- bitter pill to swallow
- take the bitter with the sweet