ac·​rid | \ ˈa-krəd How to pronounce acrid (audio) \

Definition of acrid

1 : sharp and harsh or unpleasantly pungent in taste or odor : irritating acrid smoke
2 : deeply or violently bitter : acrimonious an acrid denunciation

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Other Words from acrid

acridity \ a-​ˈkri-​də-​tē How to pronounce acrid (audio) , ə-​ \ noun
acridly \ ˈa-​krəd-​lē How to pronounce acrid (audio) \ adverb
acridness noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for acrid



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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

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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.

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 On edge after months of lockdown, widespread infection and death, and a highly acrid political climate, people across the political spectrum nurtured a handful of increasingly fantastical explanations for the dismal state of things. J.c. Pan, The New Republic, 1 Oct. 2020 Beijing's acrid response to TikTok's possible acquisition by Microsoft underscores how much China treasures the app. Naomi Xu Elegant, Fortune, 3 Aug. 2020 His daughter Ivanka Trump, son-in-law Jared Kushner, press secretary Kayleigh McEnany, and Attorney General William Barr followed him, with the acrid smell of tear gas causing some watching journalists to cough. Rob Crilly, Washington Examiner, 2 June 2020 The space, normally sweet with incense, was acrid with ash and stale smoke. Christa Lesté-lasserre, Science | AAAS, 12 Mar. 2020 More problematically, director Abrahams leans so heavily into the gory violence (there's enough blood spatter to fuel a dozen horror films) that the proceedings take on an acrid aftertaste. Frank Scheck, The Hollywood Reporter, 11 Mar. 2020 Pelosi’s nationally televised ripping of her copy of Trump’s State of the Union address Tuesday night underscored the acrid atmosphere that will make partisan cooperation on any issue difficult. Washington Post, 8 Feb. 2020 This movie, like that one, is a hyper-cartoony joy ride shot in hard-candy colors and edited into choppy, Gummy Bear-sized bits, loaded with acrid humor that’s delivered with a lot of knowing winks at the audience. Stephanie Zacharek, Time, 5 Feb. 2020 The smell of acrid metal fills the air as Takashi Taniguchi reaches into the core of one of the world’s most powerful hydraulic presses. Mark Zastrow, Scientific American, 26 Nov. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'acrid.' 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 acrid

1633, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for acrid

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

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Cite this Entry

“Acrid.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 5 Aug. 2021.

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More Definitions for acrid


ac·​rid | \ ˈa-krəd How to pronounce acrid (audio) \

Kids Definition of acrid

1 : sharp or bitter in taste or odor
2 : very harsh or unpleasant an acrid manner


ac·​rid | \ ˈak-rəd How to pronounce acrid (audio) \

Medical Definition of acrid

: irritatingly sharp and harsh or unpleasantly pungent in taste or odor

Other Words from acrid

acridly adverb

More from Merriam-Webster on acrid

Nglish: Translation of acrid for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of acrid for Arabic Speakers


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