• WordNet 3.6
    • adj acerb harsh or corrosive in tone "an acerbic tone piercing otherwise flowery prose","a barrage of acid comments","her acrid remarks make her many enemies","bitter words","blistering criticism","caustic jokes about political assassination, talk-show hosts and medical ethics","a sulfurous denunciation","a vitriolic critique"
    • adj acerb sour or bitter in taste
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Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
    • a Acerb Sour, bitter, and harsh to the taste, as unripe fruit; sharp and harsh.
    • ***
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
    • acerb Sour, bitter, and harsh to the taste; sour, with astringency or roughness; hence, figuratively, sharp, harsh, etc.
    • ***


Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
L. acerbus, fr. acer, sharp: cf. F. acerbe,. See Acrid


In literature:

This is patriotism, concerning which Samuel Johnson, reporter in the House of Commons, once made a remark slightly touched with acerbity.
"Little Journeys to the Homes of the Great, Volume 7" by Elbert Hubbard
They are often perturbed and acerbated, and sometimes diverted from their proper course by the winds of adverse comment.
"Days Off" by Henry Van Dyke
Nothing to complain of in way of acerbity.
"Punch, or the London Charivari, Vol. 146, June 17, 1914" by Various
Further, Pitt's oration on 3rd February 1800 on this topic was marked by extreme acerbity against Bonaparte.
"William Pitt and the Great War" by John Holland Rose
These two facts had not combined to sweeten the natural acerbity of her temper.
"The Mystery of a Turkish Bath" by E.M. Gollan (AKA Rita)
Much annoyed, I answered with some acerbity, bidding her kindly to be gone.
"Fibble, D. D." by Irvin Shrewsbury Cobb
Mackintosh has written me an oily letter, to which I have answered by a vinegar one; but I want you to keep me up in acerbity.
"Lord John Russell" by Stuart J. Reid
My cup of grief will possess sufficient acerbity without mingling with it the gall of revenge.
"The Wild Huntress" by Mayne Reid
At this sudden acerbity the woodsman stroked his chin with his hand, to hide the ghost of a smile which flickered over his lean mouth.
"The Backwoodsmen" by Charles G. D. Roberts
Kapus Irma greeted her future son-in-law with obvious acerbity.
"A Bride of the Plains" by Baroness Emmuska Orczy

In poetry:

Its grasses by the top;
The rains thereon that drop
With drip acerb
"To The Dead Cardinal Of Westminster" by Francis Thompson

In news:

Farewell to the acerbic poet of the Vienna police report.
Acerbic Art Critic Who Wrote 'The Fatal Shore'.
Wryly acerbic Chris Rock plays the most exalted role imaginable—a Village Voice writer—in 2 Days in New York, Julie Delpy's likable culture-clash follow-up to her romantic comedy 2 Days in Paris.
Comedy duo Tina Fey and Amy Poehler will host next year's Golden Globe awards in Beverly Hills, bringing perhaps a gentler touch to a ceremony helmed for the past three years by acerbic Briton Rick Gervais.
Mike Nichols's "Closer," based on the acerbic 1997 play by Patrick Marber, brings the battle of the sexes into the brave new world of cybersex.
Harry Morgan, the prolific character actor best known for playing the acerbic but kindly Colonel Potter in the long-running television series "M*A*S*H," died on Wednesday morning at his home in Los Angeles.
Our guide, an acerbic Belizean named Albert, walked us up a hill, around a bend in the path and toward the weathered stone ziggurat and weedy surrounding structures that rose out of the jungle like a real estate development gone bad.
WASHINGTON – During his 30 years in the clubby confines of the US Senate, Arlen Specter never lost his acerbic prosecutorial zeal, friends and associates say.
If you crave cherry pie, try Kitchenette 's flaky, pleasingly acerbic year-round standard.
Con Vivo will present Igor Stravinsky 's jazzy, acerbic masterpiece, "The Soldier's Tale (L'Histoire du Soldat)," Sunday at 5 pm, at St Paul Lutheran Church, 440 Hoboken Ave, Jersey City.
The agency has filed another tax lien against the acerbic model.
Beano Cook, a college football commentator known for his encyclopedic knowledge about the sport and acerbic quips, died today at the age of 81.
The operating philosophy of the Scottish slum dwellers who growl, spit, curse and brawl through Paul McGuigan's nastily amusing film, "The Acid House," could be boiled down to a single acerbic slogan: it's kind to be cruel.
Whether or not you ever caught the critically under-appreciated FX gem 'Rescue Me,' or you delight in Denis Leary 's acerbic wit in this year's 'The Amazing Spider-Man,' the comedian certainly has a distinctive voice.
While Russia continued its painfully slow counting of votes from Sunday's election, its biggest vote-getter, the acerbic nationalist Vladimir V Zhirinovsky, offered today to play a responsible part in any new government.