Acerbic vs Vitriol - What's the difference?

acerbic | vitriol |

As an adjective acerbic

is tasting sour or bitter.

As a noun vitriol is

vitriol (sulfuric acid).

Other Comparisons: What's the difference?




(en adjective)
  • Tasting sour or bitter.
  • * 1998 Aug. 5, Dr. Peter Gott, " Can inhaler cause addiction?," Catoosa County News (retrieved 19 Sep 2009):
  • Those consumers who object to the acerbic taste of garlic can purchase de-odorized garlic or allicin extract.
  • Sharp, harsh, biting.
  • * 1986 Sept. 22, " West Germany: Last Taunts From the Lip," Time (retrieved 25 Apr 2014):
  • Supercompetent, superconfident and supercritical, Schmidt is a gifted orator whose acerbic wit earned him the nickname "Schmidt the Lip."
  • * 2005 May 5, Jay Mathews, "Don't Fire This Professor," Washington Post , p. T6:
  • [H]e is one of the most acerbic people in his field, quick to take offense and not shy about telling people with whom he disagrees how much he thinks they have failed in thought and action.


    * (sour or bitter) acerb, acrid * acrid, scathing






    (en noun)
  • (dated) sulphuric acid and various metal sulphates
  • (by extension) bitterly abusive language
  • * 2012 November 2, Ken Belson, "[]," New York Times (retrieved 2 November 2012):
  • For days, online forums sparked with outrage against politicians and race organizers, a tone that turned to vitriol against runners, even from some shaming other runners for being selfish.

    Derived terms

    * vitriolic * oil of vitriol * blue vitriol * green vitriol * hurl vitriol * iron vitriol * white vitriol


    (en verb)
  • to subject someone to bitter verbal abuse