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 Miles away from the fires, the smoke still left an acrid taste in my mouth. New York Times, 11 Aug. 2021 As the evening went on, Dylan’s voice became more acrid. Mick Stevens, The New Yorker, 12 Aug. 2021 The acrid smoke from massive wildfires that ignited in rural eastern Washington last Labor Day weekend drifted over the Cascades before blanketing the state’s populous western flank. Lindsey Mcginnis, The Christian Science Monitor, 9 Aug. 2021 Sparks fly where steel is being burned, and an acrid, choking smoke billows up when a torch sets off insulation or oil or something else flammable. Jacques Kelly,, 9 Aug. 2021 There is a moment when the sugars in a black plantain will begin to ferment and release a slightly acrid smell. New York Times, 6 Aug. 2021 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

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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Last Updated

20 Oct 2021

Cite this Entry

“Acrid.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 Oct. 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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