Meaning of BITTER in English

BITTER

/ ˈbɪtə(r); NAmE / adjective , noun

■ adjective

HELP NOTE : more bitter and most bitter are the usual comparative and superlative forms, but bitterest can also be used.

1.

( of arguments, disagreements, etc. ) very serious and unpleasant, with a lot of anger and hatred involved :

a long and bitter dispute

2.

( of people ) feeling angry and unhappy because you feel that you have been treated unfairly :

She is very bitter about losing her job.

3.

[ usually before noun ] making you feel very unhappy; caused by great unhappiness :

to weep / shed bitter tears

Losing the match was a bitter disappointment for the team.

I've learnt from bitter experience not to trust what he says.

4.

( of food, etc. ) having a strong, unpleasant taste; not sweet :

Black coffee leaves a bitter taste in the mouth.

—compare sweet

5.

( of weather conditions ) extremely cold and unpleasant :

bitter cold

a bitter wind

It's really bitter out today.

►  bit·ter·ness noun [ U ]:

The pay cut caused bitterness among the staff.

The flowers of the hop plant add bitterness to the beer.

IDIOMS

- a bitter pill (for sb) (to swallow)

- to / until the bitter end

■ noun ( BrE )

1.

[ U , C ] a type of beer with a dark colour and a strong bitter taste, that is very popular in Britain :

A pint of bitter, please.

—compare mild

2.

bitters [ U+sing./pl. v . ] a strong bitter alcoholic liquid that is made from plants and added to other alcoholic drinks to give flavour :

gin with a dash of bitters

••

SYNONYMS

bitter

pungent ♦ sour ♦ acrid ♦ sharp ♦ acid

These words all describe a strong, unpleasant taste or smell.

bitter

(of a taste or smell) strong and usually unpleasant; (of food or drink) having a bitter taste.

pungent

(of a smell or taste) strong and usually unpleasant; (of food or smoke) having a pungent smell or taste:

the pungent smell of burning rubber

sour

(of a taste) bitter like the taste of a lemon or of fruit that is not ripe; (of food or drink) having a sour taste:

Too much pulp produces a sour wine.

acrid

(of a smell or taste) strong and unpleasant; (of smoke) having an acrid smell:

acrid smoke from burning tyres

sharp

(of a taste or smell) strong and slightly bitter; (of food or drink) having a sharp taste:

The cheese has a distinctively sharp taste.

acid

(of a taste or smell) bitter, like the taste of a lemon or of fruit that is not ripe; (of food or drink) having an acid taste.

which word?

Bitter , sour , sharp and acid are all used more for tastes. Pungent and acrid are used more for smells. A bitter taste is usually unpleasant, but some people enjoy the bitter flavour of coffee or chocolate. You cannot use any other word to describe this flavour. Sour and acid both describe the taste of a lemon or fruit that is not ripe. Sour is usually a negative term; acid can be negative or simply descriptive. A sharp or pungent flavour is more strong than unpleasant, especially when describing cheese. A pungent smell is usually unpleasant, but some people enjoy the pungent smell of rich, spicy food. An acrid smell is always unpleasant; acrid is not used for the smell of food.

PATTERNS AND COLLOCATIONS :

to taste bitter / pungent / sour / sharp / acid

to smell bitter / pungent / acrid / sharp

a(n) bitter / pungent / sour / acrid / sharp / acid taste / flavour

a(n) bitter / pungent / acrid / sharp / acid smell / odour

a(n) bitter / sour / sharp / acid fruit

pungent / sharp cheese

pungent / acrid smoke

For more information see the Cultural Guide

••

WORD ORIGIN

Old English biter , of Germanic origin; related to Dutch and German bitter , and probably to bite .

Oxford Advanced Learner's English Dictionary.      Оксфордский английский словарь для изучающик язык на продвинутом уровне.