Definition of bittersweet in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˌbɪtəˈswiːt/


1(Of food or drink) sweet with a bitter aftertaste: she sipped the bittersweet drink the ale has a fine bittersweet nutty taste
More example sentences
  • This slightly bitter-sweet drink is good for moisturizing your throat to relieve tickles and coughing, it also alleviates constipation.
  • We purchased some things there (including some of those bitter-sweet cola worms that sell all over the place in NZ) and headed back towards Brooklyn on the subway.
  • The berries add flavour to many foods and drinks besides gin - their bitter-sweet taste goes particularly well with stronger meats and game.
2Arousing pleasure tinged with sadness or pain: bittersweet memories of his time in London
More example sentences
  • The businessman said: ‘This is a bitter-sweet victory for us as I gain no pleasure from what I see as a complete waste of council-tax payers' money.’
  • Despite the bitter-sweet memories, the win remains the greatest moment in the central European country's sporting history and is still, 50 years on, a source of intense pride for Hungarians of all ages.
  • They even visit Canterbury on their way, but the tales they tell (mostly to us, not each other) are the bitter-sweet flashbacks of memory, not episodes of instructive fiction.


1 another term for woody nightshade (see nightshade).
Example sentences
  • The name bittersweet seems to come more from the taste of the bark/twigs (bitter…then a bit acrid…then sweetish).
  • The Delaware, Iroquois, Micmac, and Nootka Indians used bittersweet as a poultice to treat arthritis, skin ailments, digestive complaints, and tumors.
  • The purple berries of the pokeweed and the red berries of the European bittersweet, or nightshade, are common offenders.
2A vine-like American climbing plant which bears clusters of bright orange pods.
  • Genus Celastrus, family Celastraceae: several species.
Example sentences
  • His poems on crocus, bittersweet, sycamore, sassafras and the like are celebrations of the natural world.
  • Climbing bittersweet is a twisting, woody vine that climbs rope-like on trees.
  • American bittersweet is valued for its glossy green summer foliage followed by orange and red fruits and seeds, and several landscape cultivars are commercially marketed.
3 (also bittersweet shell) A widely distributed bivalve mollusc which has a pale rounded shell that is typically marked with wavy lines.
  • Genus Glycymeris, family Glycymeridae.
Example sentences
  • Some of the shells I collected were bittersweets which are also gastropods, but they are considered bivalves like the sunrise tellins, so they have two shells.
  • The other two locally occurring Bittersweets are the Decussate Bittersweet (Glycymeris decussata) and the Atlantic Bittersweet (Glycymeris undata).
  • Many of the inhabitants of intertidal sand and mud flats also occur subtidally, where they are joined by tusk shells, awning clams, bittersweets, pen shells, and gastropods such as tons, helmets, harps, olives, volutes, cones and terebras.

Words that rhyme with bittersweet

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For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: bitter|sweet

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