: being, inducing, or marked by the one of the five basic taste sensations that is peculiarly acrid, astringent, and often disagreeable and characteristic of citrus peels, unsweetened cocoa, black coffee, mature leafy greens (such as kale or mustard), or ale
Cocoa beans have a bitter flavor.
The medicine had a bitter aftertaste.
We were struck by the bitter irony of the situation.
His betrayal had made her bitter.
She was still bitter toward her ex-husband.
He's the bitterest man I know. Noun
The cocktail recipe called for a dash of bitters.
a good selection of bittersSee More
Recent Examples on the Web
There are moments of levity, but the play is not a light lift—Paulson’s role, the eldest sister, Toni, furious and bitter in measures, perhaps especially.—Alessandra Codinha, Vogue, 21 Nov. 2023 Muddle gently, avoiding the lime rinds, which can add a bitter taste.—Lucy Buffett, Southern Living, 21 Nov. 2023 Five years after his death, those closest to him are left with grief and the bitter taste of a life sacrificed unnecessarily.—John Leland, New York Times, 19 Nov. 2023 Sun Will Battery Balaclava Keep your face, nose, and neck protected from bitter temps and brutal winds with this soft and stretchy base layer.—Jen Ator, Travel + Leisure, 19 Nov. 2023 Van Fleet allegedly grew bitter in her older years, grumbling that she had been typecast and was never given a true chance to shine, but this glittering collection of films proves otherwise.—The New Yorker, 17 Nov. 2023 The pre-ground beans produced a very strong, bitter cup with minimal acidity.—Nor'adila Hepburn, Better Homes & Gardens, 16 Nov. 2023 The contest has featured particularly bitter TV ads, and is critical to Republican efforts to flip control of the Senate.—CBS News, 7 Nov. 2023 The Bharatiya Janata Party and Aam Aadmi are bitter rivals in the capital, with the federal authorities having weakened much of the city administration’s powers.—Hari Kumar, New York Times, 3 Nov. 2023
And while the popular Le Labo Santal 33 resonates with a cozy, smoking fire– just like Maison Margiela’s By The Fireplace– Jo Malone leans more uplifting thanks to orange bitters.—India Espy-Jones, Essence, 15 Nov. 2023 The brand’s monthly cocktail kits amp up the average tipple with add-ins like infusion oils, aromatic bitters and even accompanying Spotify playlists.—Leigh-Ann Jackson, wsj.com, 24 Oct. 2023 These include Old Fashioned mixer, Whiskey Sour mixer, Spiced Cherry Old Fashioned mixer, and a variety of seasonal bitters.—Melanie Fincher, Southern Living, 23 Oct. 2023 Diners can wash back the octopus with another vogue — a drink trailed by smoke — by requesting Evening Thyme, sprung from bourbon, maraschino liqueur, a touch of honey and cherry bitters.—Tom Sietsema, Washington Post, 29 Sep. 2023 This candle has rich and comforting notes of cardamom, orange peel, cognac, black pepper, and aromatic bitters.—L. Daniela Alvarez, Better Homes & Gardens, 27 Oct. 2023 To keep the French vibes flowing, Lillet Blanc is added to the mix before adding in the bitters: Lofi Gentian Amaro.—Chadner Navarro, Vogue, 6 Sep. 2023 While a swizzle typically pairs light rum with citrus juices, spices, and bitters, it can also be sweetened with falernum, or made with pineapple juice or other types of rum.—Southern Living Test Kitchen, Southern Living, 31 July 2023 Fino or Manzanilla sherry 1.5 oz. sweet vermouth 2 dashes orange bitters
Add all ingredients to a mixing glass with ice.—Jason O'Bryan, Robb Report, 16 Sep. 2023
Most Beach Club beers, like Mango Colada with coconut and lime, have minimal amounts of bittering hops.—Eric Velasco, al, 23 Apr. 2020 This grape is extremely approachable, with lots of fruit flavor and balanced dryness, due to the low tannins, which are the drying or bittering agent in many wines.—Paul Daugherty, Cincinnati.com, 7 Nov. 2019 With all the ABVs and bittering units, barrel sizes and batch numbers, a beer bottle’s label can often read like the back of a baseball card.—William Bostwick, WSJ, 8 Aug. 2018 The liqueur puts Indiana persimmons front and center while adding traditional bittering agents like rhubarb root and bitter orange peel, with cardamom and spearmint offering added complexity.—Kenney Marlatt, chicagotribune.com, 30 May 2018 Another hop, typically grown in the Southern Hemisphere and used largely as a bittering agent, presented big, fruit flavors more like traditional West Coast hops.—Natasha Geiling, Smithsonian, 21 May 2018 Those are made employing the still somewhat suspicious American practice of adding bittering hops to the mix, but there's nothing aggressive or even untoward about them.—Mike Sula, Chicago Reader, 22 Mar. 2018 Night Shift built Nite Lite similarly, adding real corn (as opposed to corn syrup or rice syrup) and brewing with a touch of Saaz hops, the classic bittering agent in a Czech pilsner.—Gary Dzen, BostonGlobe.com, 20 Mar. 2018 Two grants for a total of $135,154 went to Pennsylvania State University for projects involving hops, which are the bittering agent in beer.—Harold Brubaker, Philly.com, 1 Mar. 2018
To see whether an individual’s diet affects the composition of its saliva, researchers gathered saliva from rats habituated to a diet including bitter-tasting quinine.—Chris Gorski, Discover Magazine, 28 Jan. 2023 This mutation might even be an evolutionary remnant of a once-crucial survival mechanism to avoid bitter-tasting toxic plants and animals.—Kareem Clark, Discover Magazine, 1 Nov. 2021 Do not let this sadness, this fear, rage turn you bitter towards our world.—Kathleen Foody, BostonGlobe.com, 8 July 2022 Shake out every last drop from your previous pot to keep the next round from turning bitter.—Max Falkowitz, Bon Appétit, 5 May 2022 Two-thirds of 137 participants in the Phase 2 trial received AMX0035, a bitter-tasting powder mixed with water to be drunk or ingested through a feeding tube twice daily.—New York Times, 30 Mar. 2022 The ingredients for — and method of making — the crisp, bright and bitter-leaning drink lie directly in its name.—Rebekah Peppler, Los Angeles Times, 25 Mar. 2022 Wormwood is a European plant that yields a bitter-tasting oil but contains neither worm nor wood.—Richard Lederer, San Diego Union-Tribune, 12 June 2021 The benefit to squeezers is more control over the juicing process, so your end result should be pure, delicious juice with no bitter-tasting peel oil.—Laura Duerr, chicagotribune.com, 13 Mar. 2021 See More
These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'bitter.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.
Middle English, going back to Old English biter, going back to Germanic *bitra- (whence Old Saxon & Old High German bittar "acrid-tasting," Old Norse bitr "biting, sharp") and *baitra- (whence Gothic baitrs "sharp-tasting"), derivatives from the base of *bītan- "to bite" — more at bite entry 1