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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 for bitterness
  • Scientists generally describe human taste perception in terms of four qualities: saltiness, sourness, sweetness and bitterness.
  • The alpha acids in the resin contribute to the bitterness of beer.
  • He ultimately conceded-not in bitterness but in fair play.
  • Similarly, coffee can be improved for people who are sensitive to bitterness by masking its sharpness with cream or sugar.
  • Please keep partisan bitterness out of places where it is irrelevant.
  • My views have often been grossly distorted, attacked with bitterness and made to sound silly.
  • Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred.
  • Nor does it see the suffering, the bitterness and the loss.
  • The mix is left to ferment for up to six days to reduce the beans' bitterness.
  • Also, there's no question that bitterness is influenced by diet and the flavor is subject to a recipient's individual preferences.
British Dictionary definitions for bitterness

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 bitterness
n.

Old English biternys "bitterness, grief;" see bitter + -ness. Figurative sense (of feelings, etc.) is attested earlier than literal sense (of taste), which will surprise no one who reads any amount of Anglo-Saxon literature.

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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bitterness 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 bitterness
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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12
14
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