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Borrowed from French acerbité, from Latin acerbitās (acerbity; harshness), from acerbus (bitter). See acerb.


  • (UK) IPA(key): /əˈsɜːbɪti/
  • (file)
  • (US) IPA(key): /əˈsɝbɪdi/
  • (file)


acerbity (countable and uncountable, plural acerbities)

  1. Sourness of taste, with bitterness and astringency, like that of unripe fruit.
  2. Harshness, bitterness, or severity
    acerbity of temper, of language, of pain
    • 1905, Baroness Emmuska Orczy, chapter 1, in The Case of Miss Elliott[1]:
      “Well ?” I repeated with some acerbity. I had been wondering for the last ten minutes how many more knots he would manage to make in that same bit of string before he actually started undoing them again.


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