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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.
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.




  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
Similes Dictionary, 1st Edition. © 1988 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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"
Based on WordNet 3.0, Farlex clipart collection. © 2003-2012 Princeton University, Farlex Inc.


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
Collins Thesaurus of the English Language – Complete and Unabridged 2nd Edition. 2002 © HarperCollins Publishers 1995, 2002


The quality or state of feeling bitter:
The American Heritage® Roget's Thesaurus. Copyright © 2013, 2014 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
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
Collins Spanish Dictionary - Complete and Unabridged 8th Edition 2005 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1971, 1988 © HarperCollins Publishers 1992, 1993, 1996, 1997, 2000, 2003, 2005


[ˈbɪtərnɪs] n
[substance] → goût m amer
(= feeling) → amertume f
[dispute] → âpreté f
Collins English/French Electronic Resource. © HarperCollins Publishers 2005


(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
Collins German Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged 7th Edition 2005. © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1980 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1997, 1999, 2004, 2005, 2007


[ˈbɪtənɪs] n (gen) → amarezza; (of fruit) (fig) (of quarrel) → asprezza
Collins Italian Dictionary 1st Edition © HarperCollins Publishers 1995


(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
Kernerman English Multilingual Dictionary © 2006-2013 K Dictionaries Ltd.
References in classic literature ?
At that moment Godfrey felt all the bitterness of an error that was not simply futile, but had defeated its own end.
There was bitterness, there was shame in his heart, but with bitterness and shame he felt joy and emotion at the height of his own meekness.
But nothing can insure the hearts on shore against the bitterness of waiting for the worst.
And generally, men ought to find the difference, between saltness and bitterness. Certainly, he that hath a satirical vein, as he maketh others afraid of his wit, so he had need be afraid of others' memory.
'You know it then, and you can be so calm!' said he, surveying me with profound astonishment, not unmingled with a kind of resentful bitterness, as it appeared to me.
Bitterness is in the cup even of the best love: thus doth it cause longing for the Superman; thus doth it cause thirst in thee, the creating one!
As a rule, not only did the members of my race entertain no feelings of bitterness against the whites before and during the war, but there are many instances of Negroes tenderly carrying for their former masters and mistresses who for some reason have become poor and dependent since the war.
And it can well be understood, in such environment, how there was generated in the lonely, neglected boy much of the bitterness and hostility for his kind that later was to express itself in deeds so frightful as to terrify the world.
"When I wrote that letter," replied Darcy, "I believed myself perfectly calm and cool, but I am since convinced that it was written in a dreadful bitterness of spirit."
wretch!" murmured he, smiling with bitterness. "Ah!
But as time went on, some bitterness had been mingled with these things which were so sweet.
Casaubon; he was only shocked that Dorothea was under a melancholy illusion, and his mortification lost some of its bitterness by being mingled with compassion.