Also found in: Thesaurus.


 (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.
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.


in an acerbic manner
Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged, 12th Edition 2014 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2014
Mentioned in ?
References in periodicals archive ?
You might think about changing the name to 'X-Women'," notes Raven (Jennifer Lawrence) acerbically, speaking to wheelchair-bound Professor Xavier (James McAvoy) -- who, incidentally, is now revealed as a controlling patriarch.
We're still asking why Comrade Pushpa Kamal Dahal chose to attack the United States so acerbically.
Now older and wiser, she would express herself less acerbically in the future.
In 2016, the eminent Russian and East European expert Richard Sakwa commented acerbically that "NATO exists to manage the risks created by its existence."
Then again, kibitzers were acerbically ready: 'Hanggang one year lang yan.
But later, in the years after he began working at Tunbridge Wells in the late 1820s, Burton moved more towards his father's line and became involved in volume-building, laying out parts of St Leonard's-on-Sea and Brighton, and it was this sudden change in emphasis from serious to serial work that the AR was alluding to, quipping acerbically that 'in the work of Decimus Burton quantity and quality seem to be present in inverse ratio'.
Zygmunt Bauman acerbically criticized the notion of hereditary or vicarious victimhood as "basking in the fame of [one's] ancestral martyrs without paying the price of the glory" and thus "living on a borrowed identity--as martyrs by appointment, martyrs who never suffered" (34).
Phillips's poems are concerned with learning, above all else, and reflect an early adulthood spent restlessly considering Jewish history and tension in the Middle East or acerbically satirizing recent trends of academia.
Even later, the acerbically truth-telling films of Danny Zialcita followed suit, with similarly spot-on satirical accuracy.
120) and, most acerbically, dismissed Aleksandr Mosolov as a composer of "modest talents" (p.
In October, reacting to the news of the Duchess of Cambridge's due date for her third child, McCoy stated to camera, "I'm not sure how much news this really is," before acerbically telling viewers to "clear their diaries" and "get the time booked off".