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Several obituaries of the writer Gore Vidal used the word acerbic to describe both the man and his work. Vidal was never afraid of expressing his strong opinions, and was famous for sharp criticisms of others in writing and in television appearances. The New York Times called him an "elegant, acerbic all-around man of letters" and The Atlantic called him "the acerbic literary oracle"; his work was described as demonstrating "acerbic wit," "acerbic observations," and "acerbic and politically engaged intelligence."

Acerbic means "expressing harsh or sharp criticism in a clever way." It comes from the Latin word meaning "acid," "harsh," or "bitter."

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