Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • adjective Having or being a taste that is sharp, acrid, and unpleasant.
  • adjective Causing a sharply unpleasant, painful, or stinging sensation; harsh.
  • adjective Difficult or distasteful to accept, admit, or bear.
  • adjective Proceeding from or exhibiting strong animosity.
  • adjective Resulting from or expressive of severe grief, anguish, or disappointment.
  • adjective Marked by resentment or cynicism.
  • adverb In an intense or harsh way; bitterly.
  • transitive verb To make bitter.
  • noun That which is bitter.
  • noun A bitter, usually alcoholic liquid made with herbs or roots and used in cocktails or as a tonic.
  • noun Chiefly British A sharp-tasting beer made with hops.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • Having a harsh taste, like that of wormwood or quinine.
  • Hence Unpalatable; hard to swallow, literally or figuratively: as, a bitter pill; a bitter lesson.
  • Hard to be borne; grievous; distressful; calamitous: as, a bitter moment; bitter fate.
  • Causing pain or smart to the sense of feeling; piercing: painful; biting: as, bitter cold; “the bitter blast,”
  • Harsh, as words; reproachful; sarcastic; cutting; sharp: as,“bitter taunts,”
  • Cherishing or exhibiting animosity, hate, anger, or severity; cruel; severe; harsh; stern: as, “bitterest enmity,” Shak., Cor., iv. 4; “bitter enemies,”
  • Evincing or betokening intense pain or suffering: as, a bitter cry.
  • noun That which is bitter; bitterness.
  • noun Specifically A bitter medicine, as a bitter bark or root, or an infusion made from it. See bitters.
  • To make bitter; give a bitter taste to; embitter.
  • noun Nautical, a turn of a cable round the bitts.
  • noun An old form of bittern.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun (Naut.) AA turn of the cable which is round the bitts.
  • noun that part of a cable which is abaft the bitts, and so within board, when the ship rides at anchor.
  • adjective Having a peculiar, acrid, biting taste, like that of wormwood or an infusion of hops.
  • adjective Causing pain or smart; piercing; painful; sharp; severe.
  • adjective Causing, or fitted to cause, pain or distress to the mind; calamitous; poignant.
  • adjective Characterized by sharpness, severity, or cruelty; harsh; stern; virulent.
  • adjective Mournful; sad; distressing; painful; pitiable.
  • adjective (Bot.) See Colocynth.
  • adjective (Bot.) a plant of the genus Cardamine, esp. Cardamine amara.
  • adjective (Min.) tale earth; calcined magnesia.
  • adjective (Chem.) a class of substances, extracted from vegetable products, having strong bitter taste but with no sharply defined chemical characteristics.
  • adjective Epsom salts; magnesium sulphate.
  • adjective (Bot.) a name given to two European leguminous herbs, Vicia Orobus and Ervum Ervilia.
  • adjective to the last extremity, however calamitous.
  • noun Any substance that is bitter. See bitters.
  • transitive verb To make bitter.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • adjective Having an acrid taste (usually from a basic substance)
  • adjective Harsh, piercing or stinging
  • adjective Hateful or hostile
  • adjective Cynical and resentful
  • noun A liquid or powder, made from bitter herbs, used in mixed drinks or as a tonic.
  • noun A type of beer heavily flavored with hops.
  • noun nautical A turn of a cable about the bitts.
  • verb To make bitter.

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

  • noun the property of having a harsh unpleasant taste

Etymologies

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

[Middle English, from Old English; see bheid- in Indo-European roots.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Old English bitter

Examples

  • Absinthites or Wormwood wine, a nauseously bitter medicament then much in use; and this being evidently {242} the _bitter potion of Eysell_ in the poet's sonnet, was certainly the nauseous draught proposed to be taken by Hamlet among the other extravagant feats as tokens of love.

    Notes and Queries, Number 46, September 14, 1850

  • But the true Lord of our lives loves us too well to let us experience all the bitter issues of our foolish rebellion against His authority, and yet He loves us too well not to let us taste something of them that we may 'know and see that it is an evil thing _and a bitter_, that thou hast forsaken the Lord thy God.'

    Expositions of Holy Scripture Second Kings Chapters VIII to End and Chronicles, Ezra, and Nehemiah. Esther, Job, Proverbs, and Ecclesiastes

  • I finish, the word bitter on my tongue before I swallow it.

    VANISHING ACTS

  • I finish, the word bitter on my tongue before I swallow it.

    VANISHING ACTS

  • I finish, the word bitter on my tongue before I swallow it.

    VANISHING ACTS

  • I think people would assume that that was the reason for my ambivalence here, the reason that the bitter is at least in equal measure with the sweet as I watch my dad walk into this new life.

    Shifting

  • I think people would assume that that was the reason for my ambivalence here, the reason that the bitter is at least in equal measure with the sweet as I watch my dad walk into this new life.

    Archive 2009-05-01

  • Coming up at 7: 00 Eastern, more on the presidential campaign, of course -- the very latest on Senator Obama's refusal to apologize for what many say are his insulting and condescending remarks about small town America -- what he calls bitter voters.

    CNN Transcript Apr 14, 2008

  • Zarqawi, seven days before the election, declared what he called a bitter war against this evil principle of democracy.

    Keynote Address at the TD Waterhouse Investment Advisor Conference

  • "I don't know a better word than the word 'bitter' to describe how we feel today," Gillard told reporters in Perth.

    Yahoo! News: Business - Opinion

Comments

Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.

  • The yogurt was spoiled, so it tasted very bitter.

    February 15, 2007

  • The milk was 3 years old, it tasted very bitter.

    February 15, 2007

  • The squirrel's nut tasted bitter.

    February 15, 2007

  • "I don't mean to sound bitter, cold, or cruel, but I am, so that's how it comes out."

    - Bill Hicks.

    July 7, 2008

  • Usual kind of beer drunk in UK.

    July 23, 2008

  • An injured friend is the bitterest of foes.

    -Thomas Jefferson

    Couldn't agree more.

    July 28, 2009