Also found in: Thesaurus, Wikipedia.


 (ə-sûr′bĭk) also a·cerb (ə-sûrb′)
1. Sour or bitter tasting; acid. See Synonyms at bitter, sour.
2. Sharp or biting, as in character or expression: "At times, the playwright allows an acerbic tone to pierce through otherwise arid or flowery prose" (Alvin Klein).

[From Latin acerbus; see ak- in Indo-European roots.]

a·cer′bi·cal·ly adv.


(əˈsɜr bɪk)

1. sour or astringent in taste.
2. sharply or bitterly severe, as temper or expression.
[1860–65; < Latin acerb(us) sour, unripe + -ic]
a•cer′bi•cal•ly, adv.
a•cer′bi•ty, n.
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Adj.1.acerb - sour or bitter in tasteacerb - sour or bitter in taste    
sour - having a sharp biting taste
2.acerb - harsh or corrosive in toneacerb - harsh or corrosive in tone; "an acerbic tone piercing otherwise flowery prose"; "a barrage of acid comments"; "her acrid remarks make her many enemies"; "bitter words"; "blistering criticism"; "caustic jokes about political assassination, talk-show hosts and medical ethics"; "a sulfurous denunciation"; "a vitriolic critique"
unpleasant - disagreeable to the senses, to the mind, or feelings ; "an unpleasant personality"; "unpleasant repercussions"; "unpleasant odors"


Having a taste characteristic of that produced by acids:


, acerb
a. agrio-a, ácido-a, áspero-a.
References in periodicals archive ?
Ajak is known for his anti-war activism and acerb criticism for President Salva Kiir and the SPLM-IO leader Riek Machar.
Once the trees leave the hometown, the fruit becomes bitter and acerb. In the second stanza, the Qu praises the internal virtue of the orange tree and expresses his admiration to it, saying that he wanted to plant the orange tree as a model for himself.
Despite the relatively acerb quality of its berries, the interest in chokeberry is still rising, mainly because of its health-promoting properties, but also due to its unusually easy cultivation.
Having dropped out of school and been kicked out by his parents, Thomas eventually finds himself institutionalized, his breakaway precipitating a sometimes acerb, sometimes giddy breakdown.