One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A substance added to a toxic product, e.g. antifreeze, to make it taste or smell extremely bitter and thus discourage inhalation or ingestion.
- ‘Oregon and California both require that antifreeze manufacturers add a bittering agent to their products, in order to make them unpalatable to pets and children.’
- ‘One, called a "bittering agent," would sour the pellets' taste so that kids who started eating them would spit them out.’
- ‘The lab experts finally identified the fluid through a taste test; one brave technician detected the presence of a bittering agent known as denatonium benzoate (trade name Bitrex).’
- ‘Before the introduction of hops, the principal bittering agent used in Britain to improve the flavour of ale and help it keep was alehoof or tunhoof, which are ancient names for that common blue-flowered dead-nettle that we now call more prosaically ground-ivy.’
- ‘A Senate sub-committee is considering legislation to add a bittering agent to anti-freeze to keep it from being swallowed.’
- ‘As for the bittering agent, the industry warned that it would put rats off the bait, leaving them to run amok in the nation's cities.’
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