Definition of acerbic
- acerbic commentary
- an acerbic reviewer
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the film's most acerbic critics
whispered a steady stream of acerbic comments as the lecturer droned on
These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'acerbic.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.
English speakers created "acerbic" in the 19th century by adding "-ic" to the adjective "acerb." "Acerb" had been around since the 17th century, but for most of that time it had been used with only a literal "sour-tasting" sense. (The word acerb is still around today, but it is now simply a less common synonym of "acerbic.") "Acerbic" and "acerb" ultimately come from the Latin adjective acerbus, which can mean "harsh," "bitter," or "unpleasant." Another English word that comes from "acerbus" is "exacerbate," which means "to make more violent, bitter, or severe."
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having a quality expressive of sadness
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