: acerbic
acerb humor

Examples of acerb in a Sentence

a professor with a rather acerb sense of humor

Word History

Etymology

borrowed from French & Latin; French acerbe, going back to Old French, borrowed from Latin acerbus, going back to a pre-Latin stem *akri-þo-, derivative of *ā̆kri- "sharp" — more at acrid

Note: This etymology presupposes that underlying the -b- is the same adjective suffix that normally appears as -id- (< -*iþ- < Indo-European *-idh-). The presumed development would be *akri-þo-, then by syncope > akr̥þos, then by vocalization > *akerþos > *akerfos > acerbus. For the treatment of Indo-European *dh in this position a standard Latin basis of comparison is verbum.

First Known Use

1822, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of acerb was in 1822

Dictionary Entries Near acerb

Cite this Entry

“Acerb.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/acerb. Accessed 22 Apr. 2024.

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