acrimonious

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English[edit]

Etymology[edit]

An acrimonious argument (sense 2)

acrimony +‎ -ous;[1] compare French acrimonieux (acrimonious), from Latin ācrimōniōsus (acrimonious), from ācrimōnia (pungency, sharpness; acrimony, austerity) + -ōsus (suffix meaning ‘full of; prone to’, forming adjectives from nouns) (ultimately from Proto-Indo-European *-went- or *-wont- + *-to-). Ācrimōnia is derived from Latin ācer (sharp; bitter, sour) (from Proto-Indo-European *h₂ḱrós (sharp), from *h₂eḱ- (sharp) + *-rós (suffix forming adjectives from Caland system roots)) + Latin -mōnia (the feminine form of -mōnium (suffix forming collective nouns and nouns designating legal status or obligation), ultimately from Proto-Indo-European *-mō (suffix forming agent nouns from verbs)).

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Adjective[edit]

acrimonious (comparative more acrimonious, superlative most acrimonious)

  1. (archaic) Harsh and sharp, or bitter and not pleasant to the taste; acrid, pungent.
    • 1824 June, [Walter Scott], chapter II, in Redgauntlet, a Tale of the Eighteenth Century. [...] In Three Volumes, volume II, Edinburgh: Printed [by James Ballantyne and Co.] for Archibald Constable and Co.; London: Hurst, Robinson, and Co., OCLC 926803915, page 50:
      The old man [] began to suffer in the body as well as the mind. He had formed the determination of setting out in person for Dumfriesshire, when, after having been dogged, peevish, and snappish to his clerks and domestics, to an unusual and almost intolerable degree, the acrimonious humours settled in a hissing-hot fit of the gout, which is a well-known tamer of the most froward spirits, []
    • 1850, J. H. Rausse; C. H. Meeker, transl., “B. Practical Proof”, in The Water-cure, Applied to Every Known Disease: A Complete Demonstration of the Advantages of the Hydropathic System of Curing Diseases: Showing also, the Fallacy of the Medicinal Method, and Its Utter Inability to Effect a Permanent Cure. With an Appendix, Containing a Water Diet and Rules for Bathing, 3rd enlarged and improved edition, New York, N.Y.: Fowlers and Wells, Clinton Hall, 131 Nassau Street, OCLC 761236018, page 39:
      [I]t is sufficiently evident from the physiology of man, that boils and eruptions cannot be produced in perfectly healthy persons through the action of water, since water is a matter the most conceivably mild, and since boils produce a feeling always painful, and more or less acrimonious and corrosive, which can only be caused by acrid corrosive matters, or by biting animalculae which form the boil.
    • 1864 March, Robert P. Thomas, “On the Therapeutical Properties of Sanguinarina, and Its Acetate and Sulphate”, in William Procter, Jr., editor, The American Journal of Pharmacy, volume XXXVI (Third Series, volume XII), Philadelphia, Pa.: [, Published by authority of the Philadelphia College of Pharmacy] Merrihew & Son, printers, No. 243 Arch Street, OCLC 50820868, page 137:
      Sanguinarina, as procured from the sulphate, is a yellowish gray powder without odor, and almost without taste. A slight acrimonious impression is developed after a time upon the tongue from the partial solubility of the alkaloid in saliva.
  2. (figuratively) Angry, acid, and sharp in delivering argumentative replies: bitter, mean-spirited, sharp in language or tone. [from early 17th c.]
    • 1790 May, “Art. 46. Tracts in Controversy with Dr. Priestley, upon the Historical Question of the Relief of the First Ages in Our Lord’s Divinity: Originally Published in the Years 1783, 1784, and 1786. Now Revised and Augmented with a Large Addition of Notes, and Supplemental Diquisitions, by the Author, Samuel, Lord Bishop of St. David’s. 8vo. pp. 500. 6s. 6d. Boards. Robson. 1789. [book review]”, in The Monthly Review; or, Literary Journal, Enlarged, volume II, London: Printed for R[alph] Griffiths; and sold by T[homas] Becket, in Pall Mall, OCLC 901376714, page 115:
      Theſe points are diſcuſſed with the ability and learning which diſtinguiſh the Right Reverend Author's [Samuel Horsley's] publications, but not without acrimonious expreſſions of contempt and indignation againſt his opponent [Joseph Priestley].
    • 1854 February 4, “Lord Aberdeen”, in The Coalition Guide: Illustrations of the Political History of 1853–4, from “The Press” Newspaper, London: “The Press” Office, 110, Strand; and Ward & Lock, 158, Fleet Street, pages 125–126:
      Lord Aberdeen is indignant that he is described as the tool of Russia, and to prove his independence, vows that he has, when Secretary of State, written very "acrimonious" despatches against that Power. Secretaries of State ought never to write "acrimonious" despatches. [] If the letters of Lord Aberdeen to the "foreign conspirators," who are his correspondents at Paris and elsewhere, had been a little more acrimonious as regards Russia, affairs might have been better, []
    • 1878 March 19, Pherozeshah M[erwanjee] Mehta, “Censorship of the Vernacular Press. [Mr. Pherozeshah M. Mehta addressed the following letter to the ‘Times of India,’ on the Vernacular Press Act, on the 19th of March 1878.]”, in C[hirravoori] Y[ajneswara] Chintamani, editor, Speeches and Writings of the Honourable Sir Pherozeshah M. Mehta, K.C.I.E., Allahabad, Uttar Pradesh: The Indian Press, published 1905, OCLC 13211512, page 140:
      Let us impress upon those members of the Council who were so vehemently acrimonious in their denunciation of the licentiousness of the Vernacular Press, almost to the verge of betraying the least little soupcon of personal feeling, that we are not pleading, in the noble words of one of the greatest of Englishmen, 'for the introduction of licence, but we only oppose licensing.'
    • 2010, Jeph Jacques, “Number 1579: Visitation Rights”, in Questionable Content[1], archived from the original on 5 July 2017:
      That would be a way more acrimonious custody battle than the one my parents had over me.

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