2. Sharpness or severity, as of language or temper; irritating bitterness of disposition or manners. "John the Baptist set himself with much acrimony and indignation to baffle this senseless arrogant conceit of theirs." (South)
Asperity and harshness arise from angry feelings, connected with a disregard for the feelings of others. Harshness usually denotes needless severity or an undue measure of severity. Acrimony is a biting sharpness produced by an imbittered spirit. Tartness denotes slight asperity and implies some degree of intellectual readiness. Tartness of reply; harshness of accusation; acrimony of invective. "In his official letters he expressed, with great acrimony, his contempt for the king's character." (Macaulay) "It is no very cynical asperity not to confess obligations where no benefit has been received." (Johnson) "A just reverence of mankind prevents the growth of harshness and brutality." (Shaftesbury)
Synonyms: Acrimony, Asperity, Harshness, Tartness.
Origin: L. Acrimonia, fr. Acer, sharp: cf. F. Acrimonie.
(01 Mar 1998)
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