Quantcast
Merriam-Webster Logo
  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
  • Scrabble
  • Spanish Central
  • Learner's Dictionary
1

bitter

play
adjective bit·ter \ˈbi-tər\

Simple Definition of bitter

  • : having a strong and often unpleasant flavor that is the opposite of sweet

  • : causing painful emotions : felt or experienced in a strong and unpleasant way

  • : angry and unhappy because of unfair treatment

Source: Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary

Full Definition of bitter

  1. 1 a :  being or inducing the one of the four basic taste sensations that is peculiarly acrid, astringent, or disagreeable and suggestive of an infusion of hops — compare salt, sour, sweet b :  distasteful or distressing to the mind :  galling <a bitter sense of shame>

  2. 2 :  marked by intensity or severity: a :  accompanied by severe pain or suffering <a bitter death> b :  being relentlessly determined :  vehement <a bitter partisan> c :  exhibiting intense animosity <bitter enemies> d (1) :  harshly reproachful <bitter complaints> (2) :  marked by cynicism and rancor <bitter contempt> e :  intensely unpleasant especially in coldness or rawness <a bitter wind>

  3. 3 :  expressive of severe pain, grief, or regret <bitter tears>

bitterish

play \ˈbi-tə-rish\ adjective

bitterly

adverb

bitterness

noun

Examples of bitter in a sentence

  1. Cocoa beans have a bitter flavor.

  2. The medicine had a bitter aftertaste.

  3. We were struck by the bitter irony of the situation.

  4. His betrayal had made her bitter.

  5. She was still bitter toward her ex-husband.

  6. He's the bitterest man I know.



Origin and Etymology of bitter

Middle English, from Old English biter; akin to Old High German bittar bitter, Old English bītan to bite — more at bite


First Known Use: before 12th century


2

bitter

noun bit·ter

Simple Definition of bitter

  • bit*ters : a bitter alcoholic liquid that is used especially in mixed drinks

  • : a type of beer that has a slightly bitter flavor

Source: Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary

Full Definition of bitter

  1. 1 :  bitter quality

  2. 2 a plural :  a usually alcoholic solution of bitter and often aromatic plant products used especially in preparing mixed drinks or as a mild tonic b British :  a very dry heavily hopped ale

Examples of bitter in a sentence

  1. The cocktail recipe called for a dash of bitters.

  2. a good selection of bitters



Before 12th Century

First Known Use of bitter

before 12th century

Other Alcoholic Beverage Terms


3

bitter

verb bit·ter

Definition of bitter

  1. transitive verb
  2. :  to make bitter <bittered ale>



12th Century

First Known Use of bitter

12th century

Other Alcoholic Beverage Terms


4

bitter

adverb bit·ter

Definition of bitter

  1. :  to a bitter degree <it's bitter cold>



1749

First Known Use of bitter

1749



BITTER Defined for Kids

bitter

play
adjective bit·ter \ˈbi-tər\

Definition of bitter for Students

bitterer

bitterest

  1. 1 :  sharp, biting, and unpleasant to the taste

  2. 2 :  unhappy and angry because of unfair treatment <She was bitter toward her spoiled sister.>

  3. 3 :  hard to put up with <a bitter disappointment>

  4. 4 :  caused by anger, distress, or sorrow <bitter tears>

  5. 5 :  very harsh or sharp :  biting <a bitter wind>

bitterly

adverb <wept bitterly>

bitterness

noun



Medical Dictionary

bitter

play
adjective bit·ter \ˈbit-ər\

Medical Definition of bitter

  1. :  being or inducing the one of the four basic taste sensations that is peculiarly acrid, astringent, or disagreeable and suggestive of an infusion of hops—compare salt 2, sour, sweet

bitterness

noun




Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up bitter? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

a very small amount

Get Word of the Day daily email!

WORD GAMES

Take a 3-minute break and test your skills!

alphabet-pasta-spelling-help

Which is the correct spelling?

accomodate acommadate acommodate accommodate
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ