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adj. bit·ter·er, bit·ter·est
1. Having or being a taste that is sharp, acrid, and unpleasant.
2. Causing a sharply unpleasant, painful, or stinging sensation; harsh: enveloped in bitter cold; a bitter wind.
3. Difficult or distasteful to accept, admit, or bear: the bitter truth; bitter sorrow.
4. Proceeding from or exhibiting strong animosity: a bitter struggle; bitter foes.
5. Resulting from or expressive of severe grief, anguish, or disappointment: cried bitter tears.
6. Marked by resentment or cynicism: "He was already a bitter elderly man with a gray face" (John Dos Passos).
In an intense or harsh way; bitterly: a bitter cold night.
tr.v. bit·tered, bit·ter·ing, bit·ters
To make bitter.
1. That which is bitter: "all words ... / Failing to give the bitter of the sweet" (Tennyson).
2. bitters A bitter, usually alcoholic liquid made with herbs or roots and used in cocktails or as a tonic.
3. Chiefly British A sharp-tasting beer made with hops.

[Middle English, from Old English; see bheid- in Indo-European roots.]

bit′ter·ly adv.
bit′ter·ness n.
Synonyms: bitter, acerbic, acrid
These adjectives mean unpleasantly sharp or pungent in taste or smell: a bitter cough syrup; a cheap, acerbic wine; acrid smoke.


pl n
1. (Brewing) bitter-tasting spirits of varying alcoholic content flavoured with plant extracts
2. (Pharmacology) a similar liquid containing a bitter-tasting substance, used as a tonic to stimulate the appetite or improve digestion


(ˈbɪt ərz)

n. (used with a pl. v.)
1. a usu. alcoholic liquor flavored with bitter herbs and used in mixed drinks or as a tonic.
a. a usu. alcoholic liquid impregnated with a bitter medicine, as gentian or quassia, used to increase the appetite or as a tonic.
b. bitter medicinal substances in general, as quinine.
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.bitters - alcoholic liquor flavored with bitter herbs and roots
booze, hard drink, hard liquor, John Barleycorn, liquor, spirits, strong drink - an alcoholic beverage that is distilled rather than fermented
References in periodicals archive ?
The original Hirkschkuss liqueur has a truly unique flavor that is as rich in its herbal bitters as it is smooth with a chocolatey caramel finish.
Herbal bitters, such as gentian, wormwood, dandelion, and yellow dock, will help with bile absorption and with the whole digestive process.
Michael will present results from his doctoral research involving double blind placebo controlled participant experiments on cardiovascular changes after intake of espresso coffee, caffeine and two commonly used herbal bitters.