- 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.
Origin of bitters
- 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 bitters
He dashes in a few drops of bitters, and then gently crushes the sugar with a muddler.
“Within its 1806 embodiment of the cocktail incarnate—spirit, sweetner, bitters, water—there is traditionalism,” Simonson writes.
"Almost all of the bitters, whiskeys, or absinthes you see in Buenos Aires are illegal," he says.
He adds two dashes of Peychaud's bitters, one shot of Los Tigres de la Ira's Suisse verte, some lemon juice, and an egg white.
He makes me a 20's Sazerac with Jack Daniels, Peychaud's Bitters, simple syrup, and local Tigre de la Ira absinthe.The Secret Speakeasies of Buenos Aires
February 25, 2014
This I promise you: you shall taste all of life's sweets and escape all bitters.The Memorabilia
His phrase was, 'Your bitters, sir, leave no bad flavor behind them.'Sir Brook Fossbrooke, Volume II.
Charles James Lever
Chalybeates, bitters, and opium, after sufficient evacuation.Zoonomia, Vol. II
Its ingredients were one drop of Bitters and the remainder, poor liquor.Dangers of the Trail in 1865
Charles E Young
Some said her bitters tasted sweet,And some pronounced her pills delightful.The Book of Humorous Verse
- 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
- 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 bitters
1713, from bitter. So called for its taste.
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 bitters
In addition to the idioms beginning with bitter
- bitter end
- bitter pill to swallow
- take the bitter with the sweet