ac·​rid ˈa-krəd How to pronounce acrid (audio)
: sharp and harsh or unpleasantly pungent in taste or odor : irritating
acrid smoke
: deeply or violently bitter : acrimonious
an acrid denunciation
acridity noun
acridly adverb
acridness noun

Did you know?

Acrid exactly fits the smoke from a fire—a burning building or forest, for example. Dense smog may cast an acrid pall over a city, making throats burn and eyes sting. But, like acid and acerbic, acrid sometimes also describes nonphysical things, such as the remarks of a bitter person.

Choose the Right Synonym for acrid

caustic, mordant, acrid, scathing mean stingingly incisive.

caustic suggests a biting wit.

caustic comments

mordant suggests a wit that is used with deadly effectiveness.

mordant reviews of the play

acrid implies bitterness and often malevolence.

acrid invective

scathing implies indignant attacks delivered with fierce severity.

a scathing satire

Examples of acrid in a Sentence

Thick, acrid smoke rose from the factory. there have been acrid relations between the two families ever since they fought over that strip of land
Recent Examples on the Web The air still carried the acrid smell of the historic wildfires that left at least 131 people dead, destroyed thousands of homes in the seaside Valparaíso region and plunged the Andean nation into mourning. Terrence McCoy, Washington Post, 10 Feb. 2024 An acrid smell indicates the asparagus is no longer good. Kimberly Holland, Southern Living, 9 Feb. 2024 When wildfires swept through the Pacific Northwest in 2020, winemakers were left reeling as their grape harvests tainted by soot and acrid smoke. Jonah Flicker, Robb Report, 29 Jan. 2024 Smoke coated the back of their throats and clogged their nostrils with the acrid smell of melting plastic. Julia Shipley, WIRED, 13 Jan. 2024 Emma was put off by how pink the tuna was, and associate cooking editor Antara Sinha noticed that the oil had an acrid aftertaste. Sam Stone, Bon Appétit, 8 Jan. 2024 And in Canada, forest areas about the size of Kentucky have burned, choking huge swaths of central and eastern North America with acrid wildfire smoke, with some of the haze even reaching Europe. Jonathan M. Gitlin, Ars Technica, 6 July 2023 Photograph: Ian Willms/Getty Images In June last year, a series of devastating wildfires tore through the Canadian province of Quebec, sending huge plumes of acrid smoke drifting across North America. Amit Katwala, WIRED, 10 Jan. 2024 As the air remains acrid with the smell of smoke, some here are beginning to imagine recovery. Compiled By Democrat-Gazette Staff From Wire Reports, Arkansas Online, 14 Aug. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'acrid.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Latin ācr-, ācer "sharp, pungent, biting" + the English formative -id (as in acid entry 2); replacing acrious, from Latin ācer + -ious — more at acr-

First Known Use

1633, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of acrid was in 1633

Dictionary Entries Near acrid

Cite this Entry

“Acrid.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 5 Mar. 2024.

Kids Definition


ac·​rid ˈak-rəd How to pronounce acrid (audio)
: biting or bitter in taste or odor
: bitterly irritating to the feelings
an acrid remark
acridly adverb
acridness noun

Medical Definition


ac·​rid ˈak-rəd How to pronounce acrid (audio)
: irritatingly sharp and harsh or unpleasantly pungent in taste or odor
acridly adverb

More from Merriam-Webster on acrid

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