Meaning of BITTER in English


I. ˈbi-tər adjective

Etymology: Middle English, from Old English biter; akin to Old High German bittar bitter, Old English bītan to bite — more at bite

Date: before 12th century


a. : 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 , 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


(1) : harshly reproachful

bitter complaints

(2) : marked by cynicism and rancor

bitter contempt

e. : intensely unpleasant especially in coldness or rawness

a bitter wind

3. : expressive of severe pain, grief, or regret

bitter tears

• bit·ter·ish ˈbi-tə-rish adjective

• bit·ter·ly adverb

• bit·ter·ness noun

II. noun

Date: before 12th century

1. : bitter quality


a. plural : a usually alcoholic solution of bitter and often aromatic plant products used especially in preparing mixed drinks or as a mild tonic

b. British : a very dry heavily hopped ale

III. transitive verb

Date: 12th century

: to make bitter

bitter ed ale

IV. adverb

Date: 1749

: to a bitter degree

it's bitter cold

Merriam-Webster's Collegiate English vocabulary.      Энциклопедический словарь английского языка Merriam Webster.