acerbic

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English[edit]

Etymology[edit]

Attested since the 17th century, from Latin acerbus (sour, bitter).

Pronunciation[edit]

Adjective[edit]

acerbic (comparative more acerbic, superlative most acerbic)

  1. Tasting sour or bitter.
    • 1998 August 5, Dr. Peter Gott, “Can inhaler cause addiction?”, in Catoosa County News, retrieved 19 September 2009:
      Those consumers who object to the acerbic taste of garlic can purchase de-odorized garlic or allicin extract.
  2. (figurative) Sharp, harsh, biting.
    • 1986 September 22, “West Germany: Last Taunts From the Lip”, in Time, retrieved 25 April 2014:
      Supercompetent, superconfident and supercritical, Schmidt is a gifted orator whose acerbic wit earned him the nickname "Schmidt the Lip."
    • 2005 May 5, Jay Mathews, “Don't Fire This Professor”, in Washington Post, page T6:
      [H]e is one of the most acerbic people in his field, quick to take offense and not shy about telling people with whom he disagrees how much he thinks they have failed in thought and action.

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