English Synonyms and Antonyms
Acid, sour, and bitter agree in being contrasted with sweet, but the two former are sharply distinguished from the latter. Acid or sour is the taste of vinegar or lemon-juice; bitter that of quassia, quinine, or strychnine. Acrid is nearly allied to bitter. Pungent suggests the effect of pepper or snuff on the organs of taste or smell; as, a pungent odor. Caustic indicates the corroding effect of some strong chemical, as nitrate of silver. In a figurative sense, as applied to language or character, these words are very closely allied. We say a sour face, sharp words, bitter complaints, caustic wit, cutting irony, biting sarcasm, a stinging taunt, harsh judgment, a tart reply. Harsh carries the idea of intentional and severe unkindness, bitter of a severity that arises from real or supposed ill treatment. The bitter speech springs from the sore heart. Tart and sharp utterances may not proceed from an intention to wound, but merely from a wit recklessly keen; cutting, stinging, and biting speech indicates more or less of hostile intent, the latter being the more deeply malicious. The caustic utterance is meant to burn, perhaps wholesomely, as in the satire of Juvenal or Cervantes. Compare MOROSE.
acerb, acetous, acid, acidulous, acrid, acrimonious, biting, bitter, caustic, cutting, harsh, irate, pungent, savage, sharp, sour, stinging, tart, vinegarish, virulent
dulcet, honeyed, luscious, nectared, saccharine, sweet
Concise Medical Dictionary, by Joseph C Segen, MD
Acidified, see there