Definition of acrid in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈakrəd/


1Having an irritatingly strong and unpleasant taste or smell: acrid fumes
More example sentences
  • Smith, who lives above the damaged flat, said the hallway had been filled with smoke and an acrid smell of burning.
  • The air possessed a pungent, acrid smell because the cigarette had burned through a filter stub in the overflowing ashtray.
  • The television screen cracked and blew out, smoke and the acrid smell of burning rubber spilling from it.
pungent, bitter, sharp, sour, tart, caustic, harsh, irritating, acid, acidic, vinegary, acetic, acetous;
stinging, burning
1.1Angry and bitter: an acrid farewell



Pronunciation: /əˈkridədē/
Example sentences
  • Whatsoever essence it derives from earth or water, all that conduces to its bitterness, its acridity, its unpleasantness.
  • Everything good in nature and the world is in that moment of transition, when the swarthy juices still flow plentifully from nature, but their astringency or acridity is got out by ethics and humanity ’.
  • I was surprised by the acridity of my own response.


Example sentences
  • Howson has a studio on the top floor, a big, bright, airy space that smells acridly of institutional disinfectant.
  • ‘Well isn't this just great,’ she said acridly, ‘I'm stuck in a hole with someone who wants to kill me.’
  • The following year he climbed Paricutin, a Mexican volcano, and distributed 450 pounds of bread along its acridly steaming rim.


Early 18th century: formed irregularly from Latin acer, acri- 'sharp, pungent' + -id1, probably influenced by acid.

  • acid from early 17th century:

    Acid originally meant ‘sour-tasting’ and came from Latin acidus. The term seems to have been introduced by the scientist Francis Bacon, who in 1626 described sorrel as ‘a cold and acid herb’. The chemical sense developed at the end of that century because most common acids taste sour. The acid test was originally a method of testing for gold using nitric acid. An object made of gold will show no sign of corrosion if immersed in nitric acid, unlike one made of another metal. By the late 19th century the expression had come to mean any situation that proves a person's or thing's quality. The Australian expression put the acid on, meaning ‘to extract a loan or favour from’, comes from acid test—the would-be borrower is seen as ‘testing’ their victim for resistance or weakness. Acrid (early 18th century) is from the related Latin acer ‘sharp, pungent’ with spelling influenced by acid.

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: ac·rid

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