Definition of acerbic in English:



  • 1(especially of a comment or style of speaking) sharp and forthright.

    ‘his acerbic wit’
    • ‘Full of my usual razor sharp wit and acerbic commentary coupled with pithy, erudite and provoking insights into the unfolding world about me.’
    • ‘Written with erudition and firm, if sometimes quirky, opinion, the book is interlarded with humor and acerbic comment.’
    • ‘You should have a sassy woman who knows her food but also has acerbic comments to make about corporate America and the food industry.’
    • ‘Known for his acerbic wit, sharp tongue, and occasional profanity, he stood out among the colorless bureaucrats who ruled Poland.’
    • ‘His style is acerbic, his humour disquiets, his directness can shock.’
    • ‘Thinly veiled insults and acerbic comments are the tools of his or her trade.’
    • ‘I nearly offered my usual acerbic response of ‘And your point is, exactly?’’
    • ‘His question wasn't acerbic, but quite inquisitive.’
    • ‘Ed is known for his acerbic wit and often outlandish and controversial commentary.’
    • ‘He is sharp and acerbic and readily entertains.’
    • ‘Jeff and the tenacious Steve - who had continued to make acerbic comments about her the whole evening - sat in the two recliners on either side of the couch.’
    • ‘He has a lazy, matey sort of north London accent, longingly smokes each cigarette, as if it is his last, and has an acerbic wit, usually directed against himself.’
    • ‘He takes his shots at me, but he has an acerbic, curmudgeonly style that gives me a laugh and he happily owns up to his prejudices.’
    • ‘The author's uncompromising critical insights and acerbic style, both humorous and original, make the reading of this work a feast for both the mind and soul.’
    • ‘He instantly wished he could take back the acerbic comment.’
    • ‘Marrying thought provoking lyrics with great melodies and his trademark acoustic guitar playing, his music is underlined with an acerbic and sometimes sarcastic wit.’
    • ‘Back in January, when it began to snow, I made some acerbic comment that all the 4x4 drivers will be coming into their own.’
    • ‘His prose is peppered with acerbic wit and keen insight.’
    • ‘The old man never once turned around to look at the speaker, but his reply was undeniably acerbic in nature.’
    • ‘For more than 50 years he has brought to the Bar his consummate advocacy skills combined with an acerbic wit and a sharp legal mind…’
    sharp, sarcastic, sardonic, satirical, scathing, cutting, razor-edged, incisive, penetrating, piercing, biting, stinging, searing, keen, caustic, trenchant, bitter, acrimonious, astringent, harsh, severe, devastating, abrasive, wounding, hurtful, unkind, cruel, vitriolic, virulent, mordant, venomous, waspish, poisonous, spiteful, vicious, malicious
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  • 2technical, archaic Tasting sour or bitter.

    sour, acid, acidic, acidulated, tart, bitter, unsweetened, sharp, acetic, acetous, vinegary, pungent, acrid
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Mid 19th century: from Latin acerbus sour-tasting + -ic.