bitters

[ bit-erz ]
/ ˈbɪt ərz /

noun (used with a plural verb)

a liquid, often an alcoholic liquor, in which bitter herbs or roots have steeped, used as a flavoring, especially in mixed drinks, or as a tonic.
Pharmacology.
  1. a liquid, usually alcoholic, impregnated with a bitter medicine, as gentian or quassia, used to increase the appetite or as a tonic.
  2. bitter medicinal substances in general, as quinine.

Nearby words

  1. bitterness,
  2. bitternut,
  3. bitterroot,
  4. bitterroot range,
  5. bitterroot river,
  6. bittersweet,
  7. bitterweed,
  8. bitterwood,
  9. bitterwort,
  10. bitting

Origin of bitters

First recorded in 1705–15; bitter + -s3

Origin of bitter

before 1000; Middle English, Old English biter; cognate with German bitter, Old Norse bitr, Gothic baitrs; akin to bite

Related forms
Can be confusedbidder bitter

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for bitters


British Dictionary definitions for bitters

bitters

/ (ˈbɪtəz) /

pl n

bitter-tasting spirits of varying alcoholic content flavoured with plant extracts
a similar liquid containing a bitter-tasting substance, used as a tonic to stimulate the appetite or improve digestion
See also bitters

Derived Formsbitterly, adverbbitterness, noun

Word Origin for bitter

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

Word Origin and History for bitters
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with bitters

bitter

In addition to the idioms beginning with bitter

  • bitter end
  • bitter pill to swallow

also see:

  • take the bitter with the sweet
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.