Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • adj. Sour or bitter tasting; acid. See Synonyms at bitter.
  • adj. Sharp or biting, as in character or expression: "At times, the playwright allows an acerbic tone to pierce through otherwise arid or flowery prose” ( Alvin Klein).

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. Sour or bitter.
  • adj. Sarcastic or cynical.
  • adj. Sharp-tempered.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Sour or severe.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Of a harsh character.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • adj. sour or bitter in taste
  • adj. harsh or corrosive in tone

Etymologies

From Latin acerbus; see ak- in Indo-European roots.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Circa 17th century, from Latin acerbus ("sour, bitter"). (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • Jane Lynch, known as acerbic cheerleading coach Sue Sylvester on "Glee," will host the event.

    msnbc.com: Top msnbc.com headlines

  • Frances, 69, best known as the acerbic host of The Weakest Link, is the only silent presence in the room.

    AustralianIT.com.au | Top Stories

  • Beatrice Arthur, best known as the acerbic Maude Findlay on Norman Lear's sitcom "Maude" and as the strong-willed Dorothy Zbornak on the long-running "The Golden Girls," died Saturday.

    The Seattle Times

  • Beatrice Arthur, best known as the acerbic Maude Findlay on Norman Lear's television sitcom

    post-gazette.com - News

  • LOS ANGELES - Beatrice Arthur, best known as the acerbic Maude Findlay on Norman Lear's sitcom "Maude" and as the strong-willed Dorothy Zbornak on the long-running "The Golden Girls," died Saturday.

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  • Beatrice Arthur, best known as the acerbic Maude Findlay on Norman Lear's sitcom "Maude" and as the strong-willed Dorothy Zbornak on the long-running "The Golden Girls," died today.

    The Bilerico Project

  • Cowell, 50, best-known as the acerbic judge on America's top-rated TV singing contest

    Reuters: Top News

  • Cowell, best known as the acerbic judge on Fox's "American Idol," told the British version of GQ magazine he has partnered with British retail billionaire Philip Green on the new "X Factor."

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  • Cowell, 50, best-known as the acerbic judge on America's top-rated TV singing contest American Idol, told the British version of GQ magazine he had partnered with British retail billionaire Sir Philip Green on the new X-Factor.

    Tonight

  • Cowell, 50, best-known as the acerbic judge on America's top-rated TV singing contest "American Idol", told the British version of GQ magazine he had partnered with British retail billionaire Sir Philip Green on the new "X-Factor".

    Yahoo! News: Latest news headlines News Headlines | Top Stories

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