Definition of bittersweet in English:



  • 1(of food, drink, or flavor) sweet with a bitter aftertaste.

    • ‘The food is a cut above the usual uncomplicated Northumbrian fare as well, throwing in the occasional maverick Norse touch, such as dill-seasoned salmon and a bitter-sweet berry sauce with your duck.’
    • ‘This slightly bitter-sweet drink is good for moisturizing your throat to relieve tickles and coughing, it also alleviates constipation.’
    • ‘The berries add flavour to many foods and drinks besides gin - their bitter-sweet taste goes particularly well with stronger meats and game.’
    • ‘The color is a radiant, bright light-scarlet and the aromas are filled with bittersweet cherries and strawberries.’
    • ‘The whirling flavours release bitter-sweet lime, aromatic bitters and fiery ginger with every twist.’
    • ‘The bittersweet Limoncello is positively breathtaking with the ripe orange-fleshed melon and fat, sweet blackberries.’
    • ‘Capable of any season, any city, and even more important, any palate, who better to present a feature on the food paradox of bitter-sweet flavors than Alain Ducasse.’
    • ‘She sipped a bittersweet brew of Oriental herbs.’
    • ‘We purchased some things there (including some of those bitter-sweet cola worms that sell all over the place in NZ) and headed back towards Brooklyn on the subway.’
    • ‘The flavors are bright and full of bittersweet blackberry and raspberry flavors.’
    • ‘Michael rolled his tongue backwards in his mouth, savoring the bittersweet beer he clutched in his pale soft hands.’
    • ‘I picked the last rhubarb of the year today, and then I picked the first bitter-sweet cooking cherries and will make something interesting and desserty with both of them this evening.’
    • ‘The best drink discovery so far has been the bittersweet hot chocolate in Murphy's Ice cream shop in Dingle.’
    • ‘He was nursing a cup of strong black coffee, revelling in the bittersweet, acrid tang and the caffeine rush it provided to his dozy brain.’
    • ‘Putting all horrid thoughts aside, she closed her mouth over the wound and swallowed the red liquid, not surprised at the bittersweet, metallic flavour to it.’
    • ‘Whisk finely chopped chocolate into hot milk for a bittersweet but more sophisticated and rich hot cocoa.’
    • ‘And the texture and flavor of each variety is as dramatically different as its look; from starchy to waxy, from nutty to bitter-sweet.’
    • ‘These dominoes, made by Christopher Norman chocolates, combine an excellent bittersweet shell dotted with white chocolate with an intense, barely fluid dark caramel filling.’
    • ‘Part of its appeal comes from its subtle, faintly bitter-sweet taste, but part also from its attractive deep green colour.’
    • ‘She carves me a slice, and serves it up with a spoon of the bittersweet cloudberry compôte.’
    1. 1.1Arousing pleasure tinged with sadness or pain.
      ‘the room, with all its bittersweet memories’
      • ‘Nonetheless, it still produced some beautifully bitter-sweet tunes like this underrated piano-driven gem.’
      • ‘But the bitter-sweet news is that local farmers who made a special protest visit to Brussels earlier this year got at least part of what they wanted.’
      • ‘But if wishes were reality we would miss many of the flavors of life, delighting only in the sweet, and never tasting the bitter-sweet.’
      • ‘We are a small group of old friends tied together by such bitter-sweet remembrance of things past and by the common hope that the forthcoming year will bring us health and some modest success in our life and work.’
      • ‘But again, his memories of the abbey are bitter-sweet.’
      • ‘I want everything I write of it to be true, hard-edged where it needs to be, bitter, sweet, bitter-sweet.’
      • ‘We start out walking on the street, whispering sweet nothings in each other's ears, playing a bitter-sweet game of cat and mouse.’
      • ‘I found it a bitter-sweet experience, but the American woman in the cottage next to mine said afterwards, in awe-struck tones, ‘It was so beautiful, I wept.’’
      • ‘The businessman said: ‘This is a bitter-sweet victory for us as I gain no pleasure from what I see as a complete waste of council-tax payers' money.’’
      • ‘His voice has the ability to alter in sound and texture, sometimes emitting a bitter-sweet tenor reminiscent of the late Freddy Mercury; other times we can hear the sandpaper-toned caterwauling of Tom Waites.’
      • ‘The final day of camp was a bitter-sweet one as the youngsters bid teary-eyed farewells to their colleagues, at the same time looking forward to their first day of secondary school.’
      • ‘Despite the bitter-sweet memories, the win remains the greatest moment in the central European country's sporting history and is still, 50 years on, a source of intense pride for Hungarians of all ages.’
      • ‘The actress is taking on the challenging lead role in The Gingerbread Lady, a bitter-sweet comedy that follows the progress of a nightclub singer recovering from alcoholism.’
      • ‘Candy Bar Kid is described as a bitter-sweet urban story of innocence and darkness.’
      • ‘They even visit Canterbury on their way, but the tales they tell (mostly to us, not each other) are the bitter-sweet flashbacks of memory, not episodes of instructive fiction.’
      • ‘Surprising that something so bitter-sweet would come out of a giant-ape movie.’
      • ‘Anyway, it was a bitter-sweet day… much as I have cursed and loathed the stress of my job at times, I will miss the camaraderie of the office, as well as the relative structure of my working life.’
      • ‘‘Comfort’ is too weak a word for the bitter-sweet sense of loss evoked by reading or re-reading children's books.’
      • ‘But there was also a bitter-sweet atmosphere in Rome since the 83-year-old pope, who suffers from Parkinson's disease, is so clearly ailing.’
      • ‘The film is a documentary on love with the realism that captures its fine subtleties, the nuances of body language and the freshness of life of two people in love and their bitter-sweet pangs of growing up and trying to live together.’


  • 1

    another term for woody nightshade (see nightshade)
    • ‘The Delaware, Iroquois, Micmac, and Nootka Indians used bittersweet as a poultice to treat arthritis, skin ailments, digestive complaints, and tumors.’
    • ‘The name bittersweet seems to come more from the taste of the bark/twigs (bitter…then a bit acrid…then sweetish).’
    • ‘The purple berries of the pokeweed and the red berries of the European bittersweet, or nightshade, are common offenders.’
  • 2A vinelike climbing plant that bears clusters of bright orange pods.

    • ‘Climbing bittersweet is a twisting, woody vine that climbs rope-like on trees.’
    • ‘American bittersweet is valued for its glossy green summer foliage followed by orange and red fruits and seeds, and several landscape cultivars are commercially marketed.’
    • ‘His poems on crocus, bittersweet, sycamore, sassafras and the like are celebrations of the natural world.’