acer·​bi·​ty | \ ə-ˈsər-bə-tē How to pronounce acerbity (audio) , a- \
plural acerbities

Definition of acerbity

: the quality of being acerbic

Examples of acerbity in a Sentence

the customer made his displeasure known with more acerbity than was necessary
Recent Examples on the Web Mazower notes with some acerbity that no king of Greece died quietly in office before 1947 . . . Claire Messud, Harper's Magazine, 26 Oct. 2021 Rarely does a reviewer convey her opinion of a book’s strengths and weaknesses with such grace and acerbity. New York Times, 4 Dec. 2020 The Academy Awards for the movies of 1988 were awash in bluntness, cruelty and acerbity. Wesley Morris, New York Times, 2 Oct. 2020 There is, however, something respectable and clarifying about its commitment to acerbity. Kate Knibbs, Wired, 7 Sep. 2020 Overly harsh with citrus, the fish was like an Italianate ceviche, and its acerbity drowned the satiny, subtle panna cotta. Kate Washington, sacbee, 11 May 2018 By now Dimon is nearly iconic in his acerbity and general spikiness. Daniel Gross, Slate Magazine, 17 July 2017 And yet another worried about the prospect of a boycott of their companies’ products depending on the acerbity of their words. Andrew Ross Sorkin, New York Times, 30 Jan. 2017 Its emotional harshness and quasi-confessional acerbity is radically untimely—and therefore enduring. Richard Brody, The New Yorker, 25 Jan. 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'acerbity.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of acerbity

1572, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for acerbity

borrowed from Middle French acerbité, borrowed from Latin acerbitāt-, acerbitās, from acerbus "sour, bitter" + -itāt-, -itās -ity — more at acerb

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The first known use of acerbity was in 1572

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Cite this Entry

“Acerbity.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 Jan. 2022.

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