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 That level of realism forms the backbone of Industry, a show that evolved with a significant degree of improvisation around a rock-solid understanding of its own sleek but acrid vibe. Jackson McHenry, Vulture, 5 June 2024 Blackened buildings peeked out between columnar cactuses, deafening booms from artillery shells interrupted chirping parrots and cooing doves, and an acrid smell still hung in the air. Adam Sella, New York Times, 26 May 2024 Where Slayer peers like Metallica and Megadeth explored ballads and Anthrax recorded rap songs, Slayer never drifted far from the acrid riffs and serial killer monologues of their debut album in their nearly 40-year lifespan. Kory Grow, Rolling Stone, 17 May 2024 Hence, the constant growl and acrid whiff of diesel-burning thermoelectric plants and generators running night and day to keep the lights on. Mac Margolis, NPR, 12 May 2024 See all Example Sentences for acrid 

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 25 Jun. 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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