bit·​ter·​sweet | \ ˈbi-tər-ˌswēt How to pronounce bittersweet (audio) \

Definition of bittersweet

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : something that is bittersweet especially : pleasure accompanied by suffering or regret … the bittersweet of their long separation … — Christopher Morley
2 botany
a : a poisonous Eurasian woody vine (Solanum dulcamara) of the nightshade family that has purple flowers and oval reddish berries and is naturalized (see naturalize sense 4) in North America
b : a North American poisonous woody vine (Celastrus scandens) of the staff-tree family having clusters of small greenish flowers succeeded by yellow capsules (see capsule entry 1 sense 2a) that open when ripe and disclose the scarlet aril



Definition of bittersweet (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : being at once bitter and sweet especially : pleasant but including or marked by elements of suffering or regret a bittersweet ballad bittersweet memories
2 : of or relating to a prepared chocolate containing little sugar bittersweet chocolate chips

Other Words from bittersweet


bittersweetly adverb
bittersweetness noun

Examples of bittersweet in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun This, this is a, obviously one that is a little bittersweet for some of us on this podcast. Laura Johnston, cleveland, 14 Apr. 2022 In Indian classical music, Spanish flamenco and German orchestral composition, to name a few, the bittersweet is paramount. Washington Post, 8 Apr. 2022 As a writer-director however, his style, though still casually profane, has tended toward the dramedic, the bittersweet, the indulgently navel-gazey. Jessica Kiang, Los Angeles Times, 2 Apr. 2022 Each Thanksgiving, the anniversary of the first heart transplant, now feels a little bittersweet for the Bremner family. San Diego Union-Tribune, 15 Mar. 2022 Our original ending was a little bittersweet and left the conclusion up to the viewers’ imagination. Patrick Frater, Variety, 15 Mar. 2022 Valentine’s Day is synonymous with flowers, but with the pandemic and supply chain issues wreaking havoc on flower farms and floral shops, Aurora area florists are feeling a little bittersweet as the holiday approaches. David Sharos,, 11 Feb. 2022 The leak may reveal a big detail in this bittersweet No Way Home ending. Chris Smith, BGR, 10 Dec. 2021 Australian comic Josh Thomas created and starred in this bittersweet, affectionate comedy that lasted four seasons, ending in 2017., 25 Oct. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Myrtle Beach Police Chief Amy Prock said that finding Brittanee's remains was bittersweet, as authorities had been hoping for a happier ending. Chris Harris,, 16 May 2022 The two are long distance from time to time, which is bittersweet, Taylor-Joy confirmed. Alyssa Bailey, ELLE, 4 May 2022 The return to in-person school has been bittersweet for students across the country. Washington Post, 18 Apr. 2022 But to the professor, that realization was bittersweet. New York Times, 17 Apr. 2022 Wynonna and Ashley's homages come after the sisters attended a bittersweet celebration for The Judds' induction into the Country Music Hall of Fame on May 1, just one day after Naomi's passing. Jessica Wang,, 9 May 2022 Jepsen’s vocal work enchants while her lyrical storytelling creates a sense of nostalgia and bittersweet joy. Grace Ann Natanawan, SPIN, 6 May 2022 This bittersweet collection of memories stands as a testament to the unconscionable harm that late-stage capitalism and its attendant greed have done to local news. Longreads, 5 May 2022 Among them, the most bittersweet is the presence of late Screaming Trees frontman Mark Lanegan, who does background vocals on two as yet unnamed tracks. Steve Baltin, Forbes, 3 May 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'bittersweet.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of bittersweet


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1576, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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The first known use of bittersweet was in the 14th century

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Dictionary Entries Near bittersweet

bitter spar


bittersweet orange

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Last Updated

12 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Bittersweet.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 26 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for bittersweet


bit·​ter·​sweet | \ ˈbi-tər-ˌswēt How to pronounce bittersweet (audio) \

Kids Definition of bittersweet

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a poisonous vine originally of Europe and Asia with purple flowers and red berries
2 : a poisonous North American woody climbing plant with orange seed capsules that open when ripe to reveal red seeds



Kids Definition of bittersweet (Entry 2 of 2)

: being partly bitter or sad and partly sweet or happy He had bittersweet memories of summer camp.


bit·​ter·​sweet | \ ˈbit-ər-ˌswēt, ˌbit-ər-ˈ How to pronounce bittersweet (audio) \

Medical Definition of bittersweet

: a sprawling poisonous weedy nightshade (Solanum dulcamara) with purple flowers and oval reddish orange berries that is the source of dulcamara

More from Merriam-Webster on bittersweet

Nglish: Translation of bittersweet for Spanish Speakers Encyclopedia article about bittersweet


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