Meaning of “bitter” in the English Dictionary

"bitter" in British English

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bitteradjective

uk /ˈbɪt.ər/ us /ˈbɪt̬.ɚ/

bitter adjective (ANGRY)

B2 Someone who is bitter is angry and unhappy because they cannot forget bad things that happened in the past:

I feel very bitter about my childhood and all that I went through.
She'd suffered terribly over the years but it hadn't made her bitter.

B2 A bitter experience causes deep pain or anger:

Failing the final exams was a bitter disappointment for me.
She learned through bitter experience that he was not to be trusted.

B2 expressing a lot of hate and anger:

a bitter fight/argument
He gave me a bitter look.

More examples

  • They had a bitter quarrel over some money three years ago and they haven't spoken to each other since.
  • They were bitter foes for many years.
  • a bitter dispute
  • She cried bitter tears when she got the letter.
  • They had a bitter, messy divorce.

bitter adjective (TASTE)

More examples

  • Radicchio has a slightly bitter flavour.
  • The tip of the tongue is sensitive to salt and sweet stimuli and the back of the tongue is sensitive to bitter stimuli.
  • In today's lesson we'll look at the four types of tastes - sweet, salty, bitter and sour.
  • The additive quinine, which you find in tonic water, is very bitter.
  • They add syrup to the medicine to try and mask the bitter taste.

bitternoun [ U ]

uk /ˈbɪt.ər/ us /ˈbɪt̬.ɚ/

UK a type of dark brown beer with a bitter taste:

a pint of bitter
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bitters

a strong, bitter alcoholic drink made from spices and plant products that is mixed with other alcoholic drinks

(Definition of “bitter” from the Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)

"bitter" in American English

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bitteradjective

us /ˈbɪt̬·ər/

bitter adjective (TASTE)

having a slightly stinging, strong taste, not salty or sweet:

The coffee was bitter.

bitter adjective (ANGRY)

showing or causing deep anger and pain:

Losing the election was a bitter disappointment.
bitterness
noun [ U ] us /ˈbɪt̬·ər·nəs/

She has no bitterness about the past.

bitteradjective, adverb

us /ˈbɪt̬·ər/

bitter adjective, adverb (COLD)

extremely cold:

A bitter wind kept everyone indoors.

(Definition of “bitter” from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)

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