Definition of astringent in English:

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Pronunciation: /əˈstrɪn(d)ʒ(ə)nt/


1Causing the contraction of skin cells and other body tissues: an astringent skin lotion
More example sentences
  • If your skin cracks open, doctors sometimes prescribe wet dressings with mildly astringent properties to contract the skin, reduce secretions and prevent infection.
  • You will find that this lotion is slightly astringent, leaving your skin feeling cool and delightfully fragrant.
  • It was included, because of its astringent qualities, in skin tonics, and became a principal ingredient in shampoos and hair rinses.
constricting, contracting, constrictive, constringent, styptic
2Sharp or severe in manner or style: her astringent words had their effect
More example sentences
  • This is a fine work with all the characteristics of the composer's style: astringent harmonies, strong motor rhythms and lyrical melodies.
  • I see it as more sardonic and astringent, in the manner of Prokofiev.
  • His less astringent manner could help him forge the strategic relationships his father couldn't.
severe, sharp, stern, harsh, rough, acerbic, austere, caustic, mordant, trenchant;
sarcastic, sardonic, scathing, cutting, incisive, penetrating, piercing, stinging, searing;
wounding, hurtful, unkind, cruel, spiteful, waspish, poisonous, vicious;
North American  acerb
informal bitchy, catty
British informal sarky
North American informal snarky
rare acidulous, mordacious
2.1(Of taste or smell) sharp or bitter: an astringent smell of rotting apples
More example sentences
  • The bright green fruits are said to have a sour, sweet, bitter, and astringent taste, with a cooling energy.
  • Focus on spicy, bitter and astringent tastes, and reduce sweet, salty and sour-tasting foods.
  • The presence of phenols gives the water a slightly astringent taste and a light orange-yellowish colour.


An astringent lotion applied to the skin to reduce bleeding from minor abrasions or as a cosmetic to make the skin less oily.
Example sentences
  • Alcohol-based astringents and toners can make skin even drier.
  • They should not try to scrub the lesions away, and they should not use alcohol-based astringents that can dry and irritate their skin.
  • Also, avoid using astringents containing alcohol on anywhere but the most oily patches of skin.



Pronunciation: /əˈstrɪndʒ(ə)nsi/
Example sentences
  • It is an important issue because even trained tasters can have trouble distinguishing between bitterness and astringency.
  • There was no distinctive flavour apart from a slight astringency.
  • A warmly lyrical idiom gave place to a gritty astringency that must have been very disturbing to erstwhile admirers.


Example sentences
  • His use of astringently pretty colors, such as acidic pink and lime green, pushed the paintings toward a kind of industrial picturesque.
  • "Well, this is an interesting change of mind," Sandusky remarked astringently.
  • His novels stood out for being both remarkably well-written and astringently original.


Mid 16th century: from French, from Latin astringent- 'pulling tight', from the verb astringere, from ad- 'towards' + stringere 'bind, pull tight'.

  • strict from Late Middle English:

    People first used strict to mean ‘restricted in space or extent’. The 17th-century philosopher Richard Burthogge wrote in 1675: ‘I am apt to think that Hell is of a Vast Extent, and that the bounds and limits of it, are not so strict and narrow, as the most imagine.’ Other early meanings included ‘tight’ and ‘stretched taut’ before the meaning ‘imposing severe discipline’ developed in the late 16th century. The source is Latin strictus, based on stringere ‘to tighten or draw tight’. Stringent (mid 17th century) and its variant astringent (mid 16th century) are from the same source. See also district

Words that rhyme with astringent

contingent, stringent

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: astrin|gent

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