adjective: bitter


Most people know the word “bitter” refers to the taste of something being strong and unpleasant. However, there are other meanings which many people don’t know about. That’s what I’d like to write about today.

There are three basic meanings for the word “bitter”. Let me go over them for you.

1. the taste of something which is strong and unpleasant. For example:

This coffee is really bitter. I’d like to get another cup please.

I don’t like the taste of this vegetable. It’s really bitter, and it tastes like medicine.

2. something that is very strong in a negative way. It’s often used to talk about cold weather, the truth or a struggle. For example:

I hate the bitter winters in my hometown.

I really hate the weather in my hometown in the winter because it’s bitterly cold.

I know you’re having a hard time dealing with your divorce, but you have to get over it. The bitter truth is that your husband doesn’t love you anymore.

There is a bitter struggle going on right now between various leaders to see who will become president.

3. used to describe a person who remains angry about something for a long period of time. For example:

My father got fired from his job about a year ago, and he’s still bitter about it.

My friend is a bitter woman when it comes to men. She has had her heart broken many times, and now she hates men completely!

In the second definition, I used the word “bitter” as an adverb – “bitterly” – in front of the adjective “cold”. This is a special case though; we don’t use “bitterly” with most other adjectives. Let me give you some other examples of how it can be used.

It was bitterly painful to see my ex-husband with another woman.

The war between the two countries was bitterly fought.

The smell of sulfur is bitterly pungent.

There are probably other examples of how to use the word “bitterly”, but these are the main ones I could think of for natural conversations. However, you might see it used in novels but, in those cases, it’s not natural for conversational English.


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