adjective, tart·er, tart·est.

  1. sharp to the taste; sour or acid: Tart apples are best for pie.
  2. sharp in character, spirit, or expression; cutting; biting: a tart remark.


  1. a pastry case often having no top crust, with a sweet or savoury filling


  1. (of a flavour, food, etc) sour, acid, or astringent
  2. cutting, sharp, or caustica tart remark


  1. informal a promiscuous woman, esp a prostitute: often a term of abuseSee also tart up

n.2“prostitute,” 1887, from earlier use as a term of endearment to a girl or woman (1864), sometimes said to be a shortening of sweetheart. But another theory traces it to jam-tart (see tart (n.1)), which was British slang early 19c. for “attractive woman.” To tart (something) up is from 1938. adj.“having a sharp taste,” late 14c., perhaps from Old English teart “painful, sharp, severe” (in reference to punishment, pain, suffering), of unknown origin; possibly related to the root of teran “to tear.” Figurative use, with reference to words, speech, etc., is attested from c.1600. n.1“small pie,” c.1400, from Old French tarte “flat, open-topped pastry” (13c.), possibly an alteration of torte, from Late Latin torta “round loaf of bread” (in Medieval Latin “a cake, tart”), infl. in Middle English by tart (adj.).

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