If you usually drink your coffee with lots of cream and sugar in it, you might be surprised at how bitter plain black coffee can taste. Bitter means "having a sharp or harsh flavor."

Bitter describes a particular pungent taste, like the sharpness of very dark chocolate (which is sometimes called bittersweet for its mixture of the two flavors). If you imagine taking that bitter taste on your tongue and turning it into an emotion, you've got another meaning of bitter: a resentful, angry feeling. And if you turn that bitter flavor into a physical feeling, you've got an adjective that describes a sharp, unpleasant sensation, like a cold, bitter wind.

Definitions of bitter
  1. adjective
    causing a sharp and acrid taste experience;"quinine is bitter"
    pleasing to the sense of taste
  2. noun
    the taste experience when quinine or coffee is taken into the mouth
    synonyms: bitterness
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    type of:
    gustatory perception, gustatory sensation, taste, taste perception, taste sensation
    the sensation that results when taste buds in the tongue and throat convey information about the chemical composition of a soluble stimulus
  3. noun
    the property of having a harsh unpleasant taste
    synonyms: bitterness
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    a sharp bitterness
    acridity, acridness
    extreme bitterness
    type of:
    taste property
    a property appreciated via the sense of taste
  4. verb
    make bitter
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    type of:
    change taste
    alter the flavor of
  5. adjective
    marked by strong resentment or cynicism
    bitter about the divorce”
    synonyms: acrimonious
    full of or marked by resentment or indignant ill will
  6. adjective
    harsh or corrosive in tone
    bitter words”
    synonyms: acerb, acerbic, acid, acrid, astringent, blistering, caustic, sulfurous, sulphurous, virulent, vitriolic
    disagreeable to the senses, to the mind, or feelings
  7. adjective
    proceeding from or exhibiting great hostility or animosity
    “a bitter struggle”
    bitter enemies”
    characterized by enmity or ill will
  8. adjective
    expressive of severe grief or regret
    “shed bitter tears”
    experiencing or marked by or expressing sorrow especially that associated with irreparable loss
  9. adjective
    very difficult to accept or bear
    “the bitter truth”
    “a bitter sorrow”
    intolerable, unbearable, unendurable
    incapable of being put up with
  10. adjective
    causing a sharply painful or stinging sensation; used especially of cold
    bitter cold”
    synonyms: biting
    causing physical or psychological pain
  11. adverb
    extremely and sharply
    bitter cold”
    synonyms: bitingly, bitterly, piercingly
  12. noun
    English term for a dry sharp-tasting ale with strong flavor of hops (usually on draft)
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    type of:
    a general name for beer made with a top fermenting yeast; in some of the United States an ale is (by law) a brew of more than 4% alcohol by volume
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