acerb

adjective \ ə-ˈsərb , a- \
Updated on: 15 Nov 2017

Definition of acerb

: acerbic
  • acerb humor

Examples of acerb in a Sentence

  1. a professor with a rather acerb sense of humor

Origin and Etymology of acerb

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.



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