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

Senate Democrats are gearing up for a bitter confirmation fight. Henry Gass, The Christian Science Monitor, "The last 'swing'? High court 'reliability' and rule of law," 10 July 2018 But over the past 18 months, Romania has been caught in a bitter fight over judicial legislation and overall anti-corruption efforts. Kit Gillet, New York Times, "Romanian Court Convicts Top Politician in Test of Judicial System," 21 June 2018 At the time, the Republican’s loss in the state was largely seen as the result of a bitter GOP primary that moved the party too far to the right. Tara Golshan, Vox, "Indiana’s expensive and nasty Republican Senate primary, explained," 3 May 2018 The records request and lawsuit were filed by Kevin Elmer, a former state representative who backed Hawley’s opponent, State Sen. Kurt Schaefer, in a bitter GOP primary for attorney general. Lindsay Wise And And Jason Hancock, kansascity, "Ethics complaint filed against Hawley," 15 Mar. 2018 But one of the most frustrating is dysgeusia, a side effect which causes food to taste bland, bitter, metallic or simply off, meaning patients can’t lean on their favorite comfort foods when things get rough. Jason Daley, Smithsonian, "This Beer Was Developed For Breast Cancer Patients," 9 July 2018 Lately, Governor Andrew Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio have exacerbated the transit crisis with a bitter, prolonged feud. William Finnegan, The New Yorker, "Can Andy Byford Save the Subways?," 2 July 2018 The Negroni is gently bitter, and the rosé lime tastes like citrus. Allison Steele, Philly.com, "Portable Negronis and spritzes to sip at the beach or pool," 28 June 2018 Among his first tweets was a bitter message toward Korp and another of her clients, fellow astronaut Terry Virts. Eric Berger, Ars Technica, "Buzz Aldrin returns to Twitter, sues his son and former manager," 23 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Martel VS, Plantation Pineapple Rum, banana, lime, and a bitters. Los Angeles Magazine, "FIRST LOOK: Menu Highlights From the Saved by the Max Pop-Up Diner," 30 Apr. 2018 Fee Brother’s rhubarb bitters is used to create this spring twist to a supper club favorite. Terri Milligan, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Are you a ’barbarian? Let rhubarb’s tart-sweet flavor shine in more than pie," 13 Apr. 2018 The Woodford Reserve Spire is made with Woodford Reserve Bourbon, lemonade, cranberry juice and bitters. Kirby Adams, The Courier-Journal, "Throw the best Kentucky Derby party with tips from the guy who knows - 'America's CEO' Tim Laird," 5 Apr. 2018 Source: Jackie Zykan Southern Peach Julep 2 ounces Copper & Kings brandy 1/2 ounce simple syrup 3 dashes peach bitters8-10 mint leaves 3 slices fresh, ripe peaches Combine all ingredients in mixing tin. Bailey Loosemore, The Courier-Journal, "Wait! Before you try a mint julep, here's everything you should know about the Derby drink," 6 Apr. 2018 Her modern twist on a Manhattan combines Whistlepig Rye, Grappa and vanilla and chocolate bitters. Grace Palmieri, azcentral, "16 Arizona distillers, brewers, bartenders and others helping us drink smarter," 3 July 2018 While Doolittle inspired a vodka-and-elderflower blend with a splash of pomegranate and honey, Higgins tastes were fashioned into a Jameson Irish whiskey mixed with orange marmalade and summer blackberry bitters. Maria Ward, Vogue, "Uma Thurman and Hugh Jackman Could Have Danced All Night at the Broadway Opening of My Fair Lady," 20 Apr. 2018 MANHATTAN Ingredients - 2 oz rye whiskey - 1 oz sweet vermouth - 2 dashes Angostura Bitters Instructions Stir the rye, vermouth, and bitters in a mixing glass with ice. Sam Dangremond, Town & Country, "What's the Difference Between an Old Fashioned and a Manhattan Cocktail?," 21 Aug. 2017 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

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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Statistics for bitter

Last Updated

10 Nov 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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