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bitter

[bit-er] /ˈbɪt ər/
adjective, bitterer, bitterest.
1.
having a harsh, disagreeably acrid taste, like that of aspirin, quinine, wormwood, or aloes.
2.
producing one of the four basic taste sensations; not sour, sweet, or salt.
3.
hard to bear; grievous; distressful:
a bitter sorrow.
4.
causing pain; piercing; stinging:
a bitter chill.
5.
characterized by intense antagonism or hostility:
bitter hatred.
6.
hard to admit or accept:
a bitter lesson.
7.
resentful or cynical:
bitter words.
noun
8.
that which is bitter; bitterness:
Learn to take the bitter with the sweet.
9.
British. a very dry ale having a strong taste of hops.
verb (used with object)
10.
to make bitter:
herbs employed to bitter vermouth.
adverb
11.
extremely; very; exceedingly:
a bitter cold night.
Origin
1000
before 1000; Middle English, Old English biter; cognate with German bitter, Old Norse bitr, Gothic baitrs; akin to bite
Related forms
bitterish, adjective
bitterly, adverb
bitterness, noun
nonbitter, adjective
overbitter, adjective
overbitterly, adverb
overbitterness, noun
unbitter, adjective
Can be confused
bidder, bitter.
Synonyms
1. acrid, biting, distasteful. 3. distressing, poignant, painful. 4. biting, nipping. 5. fierce, cruel, ruthless, relentless. 7. acrimonious, caustic, sardonic, scornful.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples from the web for bitter
  • Not sweet as in sugary, but sweet as in balanced, as opposed to harsh or bitter.
  • He refuses to be bitter, holds no animosity and is just as upbeat as he's always been.
  • The universal avoidance of intensely bitter molecules shows a strong link between taste and disgust.
  • For protection, many species produce bitter-tasting chemicals, .
  • By all accounts the result was a rich, full-flavored oil with a natural sweetness unobscured by bitter compounds from the pits.
  • Most chemicals in toothpaste taste bitter.
  • Sorry for the bitter tone, but that's an honest and heartfelt opinion.
  • Along the way, he attracted both fast, loyal friends and bitter enemies.
  • The divorce proceedings were bitter and involved mutual accusations of assault.
  • Flies that avoided the fruit which had been bitter were deemed to have learned from their experience.
British Dictionary definitions for bitter

bitter

/ˈbɪtə/
adjective
1.
having or denoting an unpalatable harsh taste, as the peel of an orange or coffee dregs Compare sour (sense 1)
2.
showing or caused by strong unrelenting hostility or resentment: he was still bitter about the divorce
3.
difficult or unpleasant to accept or admit: a bitter blow
4.
cutting; sarcastic: bitter words
5.
bitingly cold: a bitter night
adverb
6.
very; extremely (esp in the phrase bitter cold)
noun
7.
a thing that is bitter
8.
(Brit) beer with a high hop content, with a slightly bitter taste
verb
9.
to make or become bitter
See also bitters
Derived Forms
bitterly, adverb
bitterness, noun
Word Origin
Old English biter; related to bītan to bite
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for bitter
adj.

Old English biter "bitter, sharp, cutting; angry, embittered; cruel," from Proto-Germanic *bitras- (cf. Old Saxon bittar, Old Norse bitr, Dutch bitter, Old High German bittar, German bitter, Gothic baitrs "bitter"), from PIE root *bheid- "to split" (cf. Old English bitan "to bite;" see bite (v.)). Evidently the meaning drifted in prehistoric times from "biting, of pungent taste," to "acrid-tasting." Used figuratively in Old English of states of mind and words. Related: Bitterly.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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bitter in the Bible

Bitterness is symbolical of affliction, misery, and servitude (Ex. 1:14; Ruth 1:20; Jer. 9:15). The Chaldeans are called the "bitter and hasty nation" (Hab. 1:6). The "gall of bitterness" expresses a state of great wickedness (Acts 8:23). A "root of bitterness" is a wicked person or a dangerous sin (Heb. 12:15). The Passover was to be eaten with "bitter herbs" (Ex. 12:8; Num. 9:11). The kind of herbs so designated is not known. Probably they were any bitter herbs obtainable at the place and time when the Passover was celebrated. They represented the severity of the servitude under which the people groaned; and have been regarded also as typical of the sufferings of Christ.

Easton's 1897 Bible Dictionary
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Idioms and Phrases with bitter
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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