acerbic

If you say something acerbic, or harshly bitter, to someone, it can leave a bitter taste in your own mouth that lingers, and the acerbic, or acidic, words can eat away at the person on the receiving end too.

It is fitting that the first part of acerbic sounds like the first part of "acid," because the Latin source of acerbic is acerbus, "sour-tasting." Acerbic speech is like acid, because it is sour and corrodes, or weakens, relationships. There are ways to use sharp words for humor, and some comedians are known for their "acerbic wit," but just as you would take safety precautions in using acid in a science lab, you should be cautious using acerbic in conversation.

PRIMARY MEANINGS OF: acerbic

1
adj
sour or bitter in taste
2
adj
harsh or corrosive in tone
FULL DEFINITIONS OF: acerbic
1

adj sour or bitter in taste

Synonyms:
acerb, astringent
sour
having a sharp biting taste
2

adj harsh or corrosive in tone

“an acerbic tone piercing otherwise flowery prose”
Synonyms:
acerb, acid, acrid, bitter, blistering, caustic, sulfurous, sulphurous, virulent, vitriolic
unpleasant
disagreeable to the senses, to the mind, or feelings
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