What does bitter mean?

Definitions for bitter
ˈbɪt ərbit·ter

This dictionary definitions page includes all the possible meanings, example usage and translations of the word bitter.

Princeton's WordNet

  1. bitternoun

    English term for a dry sharp-tasting ale with strong flavor of hops (usually on draft)

  2. bitter, bitternessnoun

    the taste experience when quinine or coffee is taken into the mouth

  3. bitterness, bitteradjective

    the property of having a harsh unpleasant taste

  4. acrimonious, bitteradjective

    marked by strong resentment or cynicism

    "an acrimonious dispute"; "bitter about the divorce"

  5. bitteradjective

    very difficult to accept or bear

    "the bitter truth"; "a bitter sorrow"

  6. acerb, acerbic, acid, acrid, bitter, blistering, caustic, sulfurous, sulphurous, virulent, vitriolicadjective

    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"

  7. bitteradjective

    expressive of severe grief or regret

    "shed bitter tears"

  8. bitteradjective

    proceeding from or exhibiting great hostility or animosity

    "a bitter struggle"; "bitter enemies"

  9. bitteradjective

    causing a sharp and acrid taste experience;"quinine is bitter"

  10. biting, bitterverb

    causing a sharply painful or stinging sensation; used especially of cold

    "bitter cold"; "a biting wind"

  11. bitteradverb

    make bitter

  12. piercingly, bitterly, bitingly, bitteradverb

    extremely and sharply

    "it was bitterly cold"; "bitter cold"


  1. bitternoun

    A liquid or powder, made from bitter herbs, used in mixed drinks or as a tonic.

  2. bitternoun

    A type of beer heavily flavored with hops.

  3. bitternoun

    A turn of a cable about the bitts.

  4. bitteradjective

    Having an acrid taste (usually from a basic substance)

    The coffee was bitter.

  5. bitteradjective

    Harsh, piercing or stinging

  6. bitteradjective

    Hateful or hostile

    They're bitter enemies.

  7. bitteradjective

    Cynical and resentful

    I've been bitter ever since that defeat.

Samuel Johnson's Dictionary

  1. BITTERadjective

    Etymology: biter, Saxon.

    Bitter things are apt rather to kill than engender putrefaction. Francis Bacon, Nat. Hist. №. 696.

    Though a man in a fever should, from sugar, have a bitter taste, which, at another time, produces a sweet one; yet the idea of bitter in that man’s mind, would be as clear and distinct from the idea of sweet, as if he had tasted only gall. John Locke.

    Friends now fast sworn,
    Unseparable, shall within this hour,
    On a dissension of a doit, break out
    To bitterest enmity. William Shakespeare, Coriolanus.

    Husbands, love your wives, and be not bitter against them. Coloss. iii. 19.

    The word of God, instead of a bitter, teaches us a charitable zeal. Thomas Sprat.

    Noble friends and fellows, whom to leave
    Is only bitter to him, only dying;
    Go with me, like good angels, to my end. William Shakespeare, H. VIII.

    A dire induction am I witness to;
    And will to France, hoping, the consequence
    Will prove as bitter, black, and tragical. William Shakespeare, Rich. III.

    Tell him, that if I bear my bitter fate,
    ’Tis to behold his vengeance for my son. John Dryden, Æneis.

    And shun the bitter consequence: for know,
    The day thou eat’st thereof, my sole command
    Transgrest, inevitably thou shalt die. Paradise Lost, b. viii.

    The fowl the borders fly,
    And shun the bitter blast, and wheel about the sky. Dryden.

    Go with me,
    And, in the breath of bitter words, let’s smother
    My damned son. William Shakespeare, Richard III.

    Wherefore is light given unto him that is in misery, and life unto the bitter in soul? Job, iii. 20.

    Bitter is an equivocal word; there is bitter wormwood, there are bitter words, there are bitter enemies, and a bitter cold morning. Isaac Watts, Logick.


  1. bitter

    Bitter refers to a strong, sharp, often unpleasant taste or sensation that is the opposite of sweet. It can also describe emotional pain, resentment, or harshness. Bitter is used to describe various types of foods, beverages, medicines, emotions and experiences.

Webster Dictionary

  1. Bitternoun

    aA turn of the cable which is round the bitts

  2. Bitterverb

    having a peculiar, acrid, biting taste, like that of wormwood or an infusion of hops; as, a bitter medicine; bitter as aloes

  3. Bitterverb

    causing pain or smart; piercing; painful; sharp; severe; as, a bitter cold day

  4. Bitterverb

    causing, or fitted to cause, pain or distress to the mind; calamitous; poignant

  5. Bitterverb

    characterized by sharpness, severity, or cruelty; harsh; stern; virulent; as, bitter reproach

  6. Bitterverb

    mournful; sad; distressing; painful; pitiable

  7. Bitternoun

    any substance that is bitter. See Bitters

  8. Bitterverb

    to make bitter


  1. Bitter

    Bitter is an English term for pale ale. Bitters vary in colour from gold to dark amber and in strength from 3% to 7% alcohol by volume.

Chambers 20th Century Dictionary

  1. Bitter

    bit′ėr, adj. biting or acrid to the taste: sharp: painful.—n. any substance having a bitter taste.—adj. Bitt′erish.—adv. Bitt′erly.—n. Bitt′erness.—n.pl. Bitt′ers, a liquid prepared from bitter herbs or roots, and used as a stomachic.—n. Bitt′er-sweet, the Woody Nightshade, a slender, climbing hedge-plant, having red poisonous berries, said to be named from its root, when chewed, having first a bitter, then a sweet taste: (Shak.) an apple that has a compound taste of sweet and bitter: a mixture of sweet and bitter. [A.S. bítan, to bite.]

  2. Bitter

    (Spens.), used for Bittern.

Dictionary of Nautical Terms

  1. bitter

    Any turn of a cable about the bitts is called a bitter. Hence a ship is "brought up to a bitter" when the cable is allowed to run out to that stop.

Surnames Frequency by Census Records


    According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Bitter is ranked #11942 in terms of the most common surnames in America.

    The Bitter surname appeared 2,618 times in the 2010 census and if you were to sample 100,000 people in the United States, approximately 1 would have the surname Bitter.

    91.1% or 2,387 total occurrences were White.
    2.4% or 65 total occurrences were of Hispanic origin.
    2.1% or 56 total occurrences were Black.
    1.8% or 47 total occurrences were American Indian or Alaskan Native.
    1.6% or 43 total occurrences were of two or more races.
    0.7% or 20 total occurrences were Asian.

Matched Categories

British National Corpus

  1. Spoken Corpus Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'bitter' in Spoken Corpus Frequency: #3873

  2. Adjectives Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'bitter' in Adjectives Frequency: #518

How to pronounce bitter?

How to say bitter in sign language?


  1. Chaldean Numerology

    The numerical value of bitter in Chaldean Numerology is: 9

  2. Pythagorean Numerology

    The numerical value of bitter in Pythagorean Numerology is: 2

Examples of bitter in a Sentence

  1. Joey Bishop:

    One guy wrote that I worked with The Rat Pack Pack occasionally, occasionally ! Another talks about how I kissed Frank’s a —. That hurt me a little bit. I know I sound bitter, but I have a right to.

  2. Mohammad Bagheri:

    The assassination of this capable and worthy manager, although it was a bitter and heavy blow to the country's defense complex, but the enemies know that the path started by Moshen Fakhrizadeh will never be stopped.

  3. Chinese Proverb:

    Sour, sweet, bitter, pungent, all must be tasted.

  4. Kidawa Halfan:

    I have learnt a bitter lesson. Never again shall I play with boys. If I get a chance I would like to learn weaving.

  5. Josef Schuster:

    The thousands of people who worked in the concentration camps kept the murder machinery running. They were part of the system, therefore they should also take responsibility for it, it is bitter that the defendant has denied his activities at that time until the end and has shown no remorse.

Popularity rank by frequency of use


Translations for bitter

From our Multilingual Translation Dictionary

Get even more translations for bitter »


Find a translation for the bitter definition in other languages:

Select another language:

  • - Select -
  • 简体中文 (Chinese - Simplified)
  • 繁體中文 (Chinese - Traditional)
  • Español (Spanish)
  • Esperanto (Esperanto)
  • 日本語 (Japanese)
  • Português (Portuguese)
  • Deutsch (German)
  • العربية (Arabic)
  • Français (French)
  • Русский (Russian)
  • ಕನ್ನಡ (Kannada)
  • 한국어 (Korean)
  • עברית (Hebrew)
  • Gaeilge (Irish)
  • Українська (Ukrainian)
  • اردو (Urdu)
  • Magyar (Hungarian)
  • मानक हिन्दी (Hindi)
  • Indonesia (Indonesian)
  • Italiano (Italian)
  • தமிழ் (Tamil)
  • Türkçe (Turkish)
  • తెలుగు (Telugu)
  • ภาษาไทย (Thai)
  • Tiếng Việt (Vietnamese)
  • Čeština (Czech)
  • Polski (Polish)
  • Bahasa Indonesia (Indonesian)
  • Românește (Romanian)
  • Nederlands (Dutch)
  • Ελληνικά (Greek)
  • Latinum (Latin)
  • Svenska (Swedish)
  • Dansk (Danish)
  • Suomi (Finnish)
  • فارسی (Persian)
  • ייִדיש (Yiddish)
  • հայերեն (Armenian)
  • Norsk (Norwegian)
  • English (English)

Word of the Day

Would you like us to send you a FREE new word definition delivered to your inbox daily?

Please enter your email address:


Use the citation below to add this definition to your bibliography:


"bitter." Definitions.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2024. Web. 5 Mar. 2024. <https://www.definitions.net/definition/bitter>.

Discuss these bitter definitions with the community:


    Are we missing a good definition for bitter? Don't keep it to yourself...

    Free, no signup required:

    Add to Chrome

    Get instant definitions for any word that hits you anywhere on the web!

    Free, no signup required:

    Add to Firefox

    Get instant definitions for any word that hits you anywhere on the web!

    Browse Definitions.net


    Are you a words master?

    (used of persons) bound to a tract of land; hence their service is transferable from owner to owner
    • A. indiscernible
    • B. butch
    • C. adscripted
    • D. articulate

    Nearby & related entries:

    Alternative searches for bitter: