Definitions

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

  • adj. Unpleasantly sharp, pungent, or bitter to the taste or smell. See Synonyms at bitter.
  • adj. Caustic in language or tone.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. Sharp and harsh, or bitter and not to the taste; pungent.
  • adj. Causing heat and irritation; corrosive
  • adj. Caustic; bitter; bitterly irritating

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Sharp and harsh, or bitter and not, to the taste; pungent.
  • adj. Causing heat and irritation; corrosive.
  • adj. Caustic; bitter; bitterly irritating.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Sharp or biting to the tongue or integuments; bitterly pungent; irritating: as, acrid salts.
  • Figuratively, severe; virulent; violent; stinging: as, “acrid temper,” Cowper, Charity.
  • n. An acrid poison: as, “a powerful acrid,” Pereira, Mat. Med.
  • n. One of a class of morbific substances supposed by the humorists to exist in the humors.

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

  • adj. strong and sharp
  • adj. harsh or corrosive in tone

Etymologies

From Latin ācer, sharp (probably modeled on acid); see ak- in Indo-European roots.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Latin ācris, from ācer ("sharp"); probably assimilated in form to acid. Cf. eager. (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • This bacon tastes intensely smoky, the sort that comes only from long exposure to cool wood smoke, and not of meat soaked in acrid liquid smoke flavoring.

    You gonna eat that? Random musings on food and life in Orange County, California » 2005 » March

  • I hasten to spit it out, but all day my lips are still hot and acrid from the brief experiment.

    In Seven Stages: A Flying Trip Around the World

  • It was more a thing of his head than his heart, revealing itself mainly in short, acrid speeches, meant to be clever, and indubitably disagreeable.

    Mary Marston

  • It's pronounced, as I'm sure you already knew, with the accent on the final 'a', not in a way to echo "acrid", though the second would be entirely suitable.

    World Cup 2010: Ghana weeps, but remains hopeful

  • The hesitancy, the moral doubt of her conversation with Langham, seemed to have vanished wholly in a kind of acrid self-assertion.

    Robert Elsmere

  • Unfortunately, he offended Jerrold, by using the word "acrid" as applied to his writing, instead of some other word, which he could not think of at the moment.

    The Life and Genius of Nathaniel Hawthorne

  • I hesitated a little, but as he pressed me, and would have an answer, I said that I did not feel quite so sure of his kindly judgment on Thoreau's books; and it so chanced that I used the word "acrid" for lack of a better, in endeavoring to express my idea of Jerrold's way of looking at men and books.

    Passages from the English Notebooks, Volume 2.

  • His nose went up in the air and quested to windward along the wind that brought the message, and he read the air with his nose as a man might read a newspaper — the salt smells of the seashore and of the dank muck of mangrove swamps at low tide, the spicy fragrances of tropic vegetation, and the faint, most faint, acrid tingle of smoke from smudgy fires.

    CHAPTER IV

  • Women screamed as they called their sons home, and men vomited in the streets from the acrid white tear gas that filled the air.

    Egypt's protests continue, ominous for regime

  • And there she was, boiling fish-chowder in a soot-covered pot, her glorious eyes inflamed by the acrid smoke of the open fire.

    Page 5

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