- 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 bitterness
But while his departure was “inexpressibly painful,” he never succumbed to bitterness.The Catholic Philosopher Who Took on Hitler
John Henry Crosby
December 26, 2014
Perhaps some of that solitude and bitterness found its way into Alec Leamas.The Stacks: How The Berlin Wall Inspired John le Carré’s First Masterpiece
John le Carré
November 8, 2014
A U.S. diplomat once spoke with bitterness of the breadth of his power when negotiating with an uncooperative dictator.This Is Obama’s U.N. Plan to Choke Off ISIS’s Recruits
September 22, 2014
KIEV, Ukraine — The symbol of the Ukrainian revolution, the Maidan Square, is seething with bitterness and aggression these days.Kiev Set to Clean the Last “Occupy” Protestors Out of Maidan Square
August 8, 2014
“Some day, the armies of bitterness will all be going the same way,” he wrote in Grapes.Is There a Ma Joad for the Piketty Era?
July 1, 2014
Then, the bitterness of Garson's soul was revealed by the fierceness in his voice as he replied.
Her words rushed forth with a bitterness that was the cover of her distress.
She remembered the bitterness of her month's exile, and its probable cause.K
Mary Roberts Rinehart
While Margaret groaned in bitterness, she heard a knock at the street door.The Wives of The Dead
We who were near to Helen have been slow to recover from the shock and the bitterness of her death.The Bacillus of Beauty
- 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 bitterness
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 bitterness
In addition to the idioms beginning with bitter
- bitter end
- bitter pill to swallow
- take the bitter with the sweet