acerb

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English[edit]

Etymology[edit]

Latin acerbus, from Latin ācer (sharp): compare French acerbe. See acrid.

Pronunciation[edit]

Adjective[edit]

acerb (comparative acerber or more acerb, superlative acerbest or most acerb)

  1. (archaic) Sour, bitter, and harsh to the taste, as unripe fruit.
    Synonym: acerbic
    • 1732, Edward Strother, Prælectiones Pharmaco-mathicæ & medico-practicæ:
      If you put Spirit of Sulphur to the Peruvian Bark, it then becomes very acerb. If you mix Mercury with Spirit of Nitre or Oil of Vitriol whilst it boils, it then is very acerb.
  2. (archaic, figuratively) Sharp and harsh in expressing oneself.
    Synonym: acerbic
    • 1909, Canada. Parliament. House of Commons, Debates: Official Report (volume 1, page 1970)
      As to the somewhat acerb remarks of the member for Jacques Cartier, I may pass them over []

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