1. sourness, with roughness or astringency of taste.
  2. harshness or severity, as of temper or expression.

noun plural -ties

  1. vitriolic or embittered speech, temper, etc
  2. sourness or bitterness of taste

1570s, from Middle French acerbit√©, from Latin acerbitatem (nominative acerbitas) “harshness, sharpness, bitterness,” from acerbus “bitter to taste, sharp, sour, tart” (related to acer “sharp;” cf. Latin superbus “haughty,” from super “above”), from Proto-Italic *akro-po- “sharp,” from PIE *ak- “sharp” (see acrid). Earliest use in English is figurative, of “sharp and bitter” persons. Of tastes, from 1610s.

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