bitter

adjective
bit·ter | \ ˈbi-tər \

Definition of bitter 

(Entry 1 of 4)

1a : being or inducing the one of the four basic taste sensations that is peculiarly acrid acrid, astringent, or disagreeable and suggestive of an infusion of hops The pill leaves a bitter taste in the mouth. a bitter beer bitter dark chocolate — compare salt, sour, sweet

b : distasteful or distressing to the mind : galling a bitter sense of shame

2 : marked by intensity or severity:

a : accompanied by severe pain or suffering a bitter death

b : being relentlessly determined : vehement a bitter partisan

c : exhibiting intense animosity bitter enemies

d(1) : harshly reproachful bitter complaints

(2) : marked by cynicism and rancor bitter contempt was still bitter about not being chosen

e : intensely unpleasant especially in coldness or rawness a bitter wind

3 : caused by or expressive of severe pain, grief, or regret bitter tears

bitter

noun

Definition of bitter (Entry 2 of 4)

1 : bitter (see bitter entry 1) quality

2a bitters plural : a usually alcoholic solution of bitter and often aromatic plant products used especially in preparing mixed drinks or as a mild tonic (see tonic entry 1 sense 1b)

b British : a very dry (see dry entry 1 sense 7b) heavily hopped ale

bitter

verb
bittered; bittering; bitters

Definition of bitter (Entry 3 of 4)

transitive verb

: to make bitter (see bitter entry 1) bittered ale

bitter

adverb

Definition of bitter (Entry 4 of 4)

: to an intense or severe degree : to a bitter (see bitter entry 1) degree It's bitter cold.

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Other words from bitter

Adjective

bitterish \ˈbi-tə-rish \ adjective
bitterly adverb
bitterness noun

Examples of bitter in a Sentence

Adjective

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 bitters
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Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

The Democratic primary in Ryan’s southeast Wisconsin district, which has been reliably Republican since the party’s 1994 landslide, has quietly become one of the most bitter in the country. David Weigel, Washington Post, "In Wisconsin, a Democratic star finds himself in a primary brawl," 9 July 2018 Given how public and bitter the confrontation has become, experts expect that both leaders will feel politically obliged to avoid any gesture that looks like surrender. Eric Levitz, Daily Intelligencer, "Dow Tumbles 300 Points As Trump Escalates Trade War With China," 19 June 2018 During pregnancy, mothers should aim to eat at least one new, unusually flavored or bitter food a few times a week, such as cruciferous vegetables, spicy cuisine or fermented foods like kimchi. Ashleigh Spitza, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Picky, picky: Strategies to get your kids (or yourself) to try new foods," 11 June 2018 The contest for the Republican nomination has gotten close — and bitter — in recent weeks. Tara Golshan, Vox, "South Dakota primary election 2018: live results for governor race," 5 June 2018 And since most of the plants’ sugars go into making flowers — and consequently making seeds — the leaves are left to taste bitter. Nan Sterman, latimes.com, "For SoCal gardeners, a June gloom tipsheet," 31 May 2018 His world view grew increasingly reactionary, nostalgic and bitter. The Economist, "Bernard Lewis was the doyen of Orientalists," 22 May 2018 There’s a wasabi latte for those who like a little spice, and an egg cappuccino, one of the most popular items, which features a raw egg yolk whisked into hot espresso, topped with frothed cream and bitter cocoa. Brittany Martin, Los Angeles Magazine, "The Matte Black Latte at This New L.A. Café Is Coming to a Goth’s Instagram Feed Near You," 8 May 2018 Some IPAs can taste like pure citrus, while others are strong and bitter. Mahita Gajanan, Time, "How to Talk About Beer Like a Pro on National Beer Day," 7 Apr. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Hurry Sundown Old Fashioned, a drink made of Maker’s Mark Bourbon, Benedictine, butter pecan syrup, bitters and caramel pecan bacon. Lauren Delgado, OrlandoSentinel.com, "Disney Springs forming limited-time bourbon trail," 27 Apr. 2018 Alchemy in a Glass: The Essential Guide to Handcrafted Cocktails Greg Seider offers more than 50 recipes for cocktails, punches, spirit infusions, bitters, and tinctures in this guide, which features beautiful photographs by Noah Fecks. Sam Dangremond, Town & Country, "8 Cocktail Books to Improve Your Bartending Skills," 6 Dec. 2017 Beverage director Jeremy Simpson, who also works at Ostrich Farm, created the cocktail program for the restaurant with drinks such as the Brown Buffalo, made with Oaxacan corn whiskey, bourbon, chipotle syrup and Angostura bitters. Jenn Harris, latimes.com, "Century City is about to get some serious fried chicken," 10 July 2018 Boodles gin is tempered by a touch of vermouth, a drop of orange bitters, and a faint mist of lemon. Stan Parish, WSJ, "‘Go Beyond Sushi’: Tokyo’s Culinary Gems," 19 June 2018 In the mix or options like the Preamble, made with Aviation gin, blackberries, orgeat, lemon juice, Angostura bitters and sparkling water. Justin Phillips, SFChronicle.com, "Belcampo opens giant flagship location in Oakland’s Jack London Square," 29 June 2018 It's made with Deep Eddy Ruby Red vodka, St-Germain, grapefruit juice, fresh basil, Fee Brothers grapefruit bitters, lime and simple syrup. Arizona Republic, azcentral, "12 places to celebrate National Martini Day in Phoenix," 19 June 2018 That inspired her to create garden Leavitt, a cocktail with a strawberry-rhubarb shrub, Bluecoat American Dry Gin and Cocchi Americano Rosa, a pink aperitif wine, plus fresh lemon juice and orange bitters. Vickie Snow Jurkowski, Daily Southtown, "New summer cocktail menus make the most of seasonal herbs and produce," 7 June 2018 Sawyer Photograph courtesy of Sawyer Sawyer’s riff on the drink uses Campari, vodka, rhubarb bitters, locally crafted Poppy liqueur, and a splash of tart, non-alcoholic Verjus Blanc. Brittany Martin, Los Angeles Magazine, "Negroni Week Is Here So You Can Sip Your Favorite Cocktail for a Good Cause," 1 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

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, "Chicago spirit-maker Apologue delivers Midwestern flavors to cocktails," 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, "The East Coast May Be On the Brink of a Hop Renaissance," 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, "Irving Park’s Eris is a space of supermortal dimensions," 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, "Night Shift releasing Nite Lite, taking on the Buds and Millers of the world," 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, "Pa. awards $705K in PLCB grants to promote state's beer industry," 1 Mar. 2018 Ginger bitters counter the prominent elderflower notes, while the cider gives the glass a silky finish instead of boisterous bubbles. Rheanna Bellomo, Esquire, "5 Aprés-Ski Cocktails to Warm You Up After a Day on the Slopes," 16 Feb. 2018 CO2 Extract Hop Oil Hop-oil extract replaces bittering hop pellets added at the start of the boil. Matt Allyn, Popular Mechanics, "The New Science of Making Ridiculously Hoppy Beer," 18 Jan. 2018 Hops class: Lecture & tasting (7-10 p.m., Monday, Feb. 12): John LaPolla of Bitter & Esters in Brooklyn will join Santa Clara Valley Brewing to lead an interactive exploration of how hops are used for flavoring, bittering and preserving beer. Sarah Fritsche, San Francisco Chronicle, "The events you can't miss at SF Beer Week 2018 (including a Viking-themed Valentine's dinner)," 1 Feb. 2018

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

Adjective

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Noun

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Verb

12th century, in the meaning defined above

Adverb

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for bitter

Adjective

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

Noun

derivative of bitter entry 1

Verb

Middle English bittrin, going back to Old English biterian, derivative of biter bitter entry 1

Adverb

Middle English bitter, bittere, going back to Old English bitere, derivative of biter bitter entry 1

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Phrases Related to bitter

to/until the bitter end

Statistics for bitter

Last Updated

1 Sep 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for bitter

The first known use of bitter was before the 12th century

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More Definitions for bitter

bitter

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of bitter

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: having a strong and often unpleasant flavor that is the opposite of sweet

: causing painful emotions : felt or experienced in a strong and unpleasant way

: angry and unhappy because of unfair treatment

bitter

noun

English Language Learners Definition of bitter (Entry 2 of 2)

bit*ters : a bitter alcoholic liquid that is used especially in mixed drinks

: a type of beer that has a slightly bitter flavor

bitter

adjective
bit·ter | \ ˈbi-tər \
bitterer; bitterest

Kids Definition of bitter

1 : sharp, biting, and unpleasant to the taste

2 : unhappy and angry because of unfair treatment She was bitter toward her spoiled sister.

3 : hard to put up with a bitter disappointment

4 : caused by anger, distress, or sorrow bitter tears

5 : very harsh or sharp : biting a bitter wind

Other words from bitter

bitterly adverb wept bitterly
bitterness noun

bitter

adjective
bit·ter | \ ˈbit-ər \

Medical Definition of bitter 

: being or inducing the one of the four basic taste sensations that is peculiarly acrid, astringent, or disagreeable and suggestive of an infusion of hops — compare salt sense 2, sour, sweet

Other words from bitter

bitterness noun

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Comments on bitter

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