- sour or astringent in taste: Lemon juice is acerbic.
- harsh or severe, as of temper or expression: acerbic criticism.
- harsh, bitter, or astringent; sour
1865, originally, and usually, figurative: “sour, harsh, severe” (of speech, manners, etc.), from Latin acerbus “harsh to the taste, sharp, bitter, sour” (see acerbity) + -ic.