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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.




  1. Bitter and sharp as a pulled leek with earth still clinging to it —George Garrett
  2. Bitter as a broken friendship —Anon
  3. Bitter as acorns —Ann Tyler
  4. Bitter as a day of mourning —Joseph Conrad
  5. (My youth was) bitter as a hard green fruit —Marilyn Hacker
  6. Bitter as alum —Reynolds Price
  7. (The air was) bitter as a stiffed hooker —Loren D. Estleman
  8. Bitter as a tear —Algernon Charles Swinburne
  9. Bitter as blood —Algernon Charles Swinburne
  10. Bitter as coffee that’s set too long —Rebecca Rule

    A variation: “Bitter as warmed up coffee.”

  11. (His voice was) bitter as dregs —Stephen Crane
  12. Bitter as gall —John Webster
  13. Bitter as self-sacrifice —Elizabeth Barrett Browning
  14. Bitter as soot —Laurence Sterne
  15. Bitter as the breaking down of love —Algernon Charles Swinburne
  16. Bitter to me as death —William Shakespeare
  17. Bitter as wormwood —The Holy Bible/Proverbs
  18. Bitterness … kept coming back like a taste in the mouth after eating something bad —Rachel Ingalls
  19. Embittered in mind, as a bear robbed of her whelps —The Holy Bible/Samuel
  20. A flood of bitterness that washes over me every seven minutes like plagues visited upon a speeded-up pharaoh —William H. Gass
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.bitterness - a feeling of deep and bitter anger and ill-willbitterness - a feeling of deep and bitter anger and ill-will
ill will, enmity, hostility - the feeling of a hostile person; "he could no longer contain his hostility"
heartburning - intense resentment; "his promotion caused much heartburning among his rivals"
huffishness, sulkiness - a feeling of sulky resentment
grievance, grudge, score - a resentment strong enough to justify retaliation; "holding a grudge"; "settling a score"
enviousness, envy - a feeling of grudging admiration and desire to have something that is possessed by another
2.bitterness - a rough and bitter mannerbitterness - a rough and bitter manner    
disagreeableness - an ill-tempered and offensive disposition
3.bitterness - the taste experience when quinine or coffee is taken into the mouth
gustatory perception, gustatory sensation, taste, taste perception, taste sensation - the sensation that results when taste buds in the tongue and throat convey information about the chemical composition of a soluble stimulus; "the candy left him with a bad taste"; "the melon had a delicious taste"
4.bitterness - the property of having a harsh unpleasant tastebitterness - the property of having a harsh unpleasant taste
taste property - a property appreciated via the sense of taste
acerbity - a sharp bitterness
acridness, acridity - extreme bitterness; "the acridity of alkali"


1. trauma, tragedy, grief, misery, sadness, sorrow, anguish, unhappiness, unpleasantness, awfulness the growing bitterness of the dispute
3. sourness, acidity, sharpness, tartness, acerbity, vinegariness the strength and bitterness of the drink
4. intense cold, bite, chill, sting, sharpness, bitter cold, frostiness, iciness the bitterness of the British climate


The quality or state of feeling bitter:
مَرار، مَرارَه


[ˈbɪtənɪs] N
1. (= taste) → amargor m
2. (= iciness) → crudeza f
3. (= fierceness) [of struggle, fight] → lo enconado; [of hatred] → lo implacable
4. (= resentfulness) → amargura f, rencor m
I accepted it without bitternesslo acepté sin amargura or sin rencor
I have no bitterness towards youno le guardo rencor
a look of bitternessuna mirada de amargura
5. (= depth) [of disappointment] → amargura f


[ˈbɪtərnɪs] n
[substance] → goût m amer
(= feeling) → amertume f
[dispute] → âpreté f


(of taste)Bitterkeit f
(of cold, winter)Bitterkeit f; (of weather, wind)bittere Kälte
(of struggle, opposition)Erbittertheit f
(of disappointment, hatred, reproach, remorse)Bitterkeit f; (of criticism)Schärfe f, → Heftigkeit f; such was the bitterness of his disappointment/jealousyer war so bitter enttäuscht/derart eifersüchtig
(= anger)Bitterkeit f; (of person also)Verbitterung f


[ˈbɪtənɪs] n (gen) → amarezza; (of fruit) (fig) (of quarrel) → asprezza


(ˈbitə) adjective
1. having a sharp, acid taste like lemons etc, and sometimes unpleasant. a bitter orange.
2. full of pain or sorrow. She learned from bitter experience; bitter disappointment.
3. hostile. full of hatred or opposition: bitter enemies.
4. very cold. a bitter wind.
ˈbitterness noun
ˈbitterly adverb
bitterly disappointed; bitterly cold.
bittergourd noun
a long, fleshy, bitter-tasting fruit usually used as a vegetable.
bitumen (ˈbitjumin) noun
a black, sticky substance obtained from petroleum.
biˈtuminous (-ˈtjuːmi-) adjective
References in classic literature ?
But in spite of the comical red imps, sparkling elves, and the gorgeous princes and princesses, Jo's pleasure had a drop of bitterness in it.
As for me, who am of the whole blood of the whites, it is befitting that I should die as becomes my color, with no words of scoffing in my mouth, and without bitterness at the heart
I could not tell what ideas you might have gathered from some indiscreet frankness of Jessie--or my father," she added, with almost equal bitterness.
It was well known that the victim had recognized the bitterness of personal enmity in his persecutor's conduct towards him, and that he declared himself hunted to death for his spoil.
Dames of elevated rank, likewise, whose doors she entered in the way of her occupation, were accustomed to distil drops of bitterness into her heart; sometimes through that alchemy of quiet malice, by which women can concoct a subtle poison from ordinary trifles; and sometimes, also, by a coarser expression, that fell upon the sufferer's defenceless breast like a rough blow upon an ulcerated wound.
The men upon the killing beds felt also the effects of the slump which had turned Marija out; but they felt it in a different way, and a way which made Jurgis understand at last all their bitterness.
I always hate to fool away a humorous thing on a person who has no perception of humor; and it filled me with bitterness when this man went soberly away to submit the last proposition to his principal.
Time had worn away her bitterness against her son, and she was able to think of him with serenity.
He privately smoothed out the curls, with labor and dif- ficulty, and plastered his hair close down to his head; for he held curls to be effeminate, and his own filled his life with bitterness.
Because my innocent pure girl here at my side wouldn't marry that rich, insolent, ignorant coward, Brace Dunlap, who's been sniveling here over a brother he never cared a brass farthing for--"[I see Tom give a jump and look glad THIS time, to a dead certainty]"-- and in that moment I've told you about, I forgot my God and remembered only my heart's bitterness, God forgive me, and I struck to kill.
A birthday present for our child, Aurelia," he would say,--"a little nest-egg for the future;" but Aurelia once remarked in a moment of bitterness that the hen never lived that could sit on those eggs and hatch anything out of them.
I am losing all my bitterness against spoilt children, my dearest Emma.