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sharp or biting to the taste or smell; bitterly pungent; irritating to the eyes, nose, etc.:
acrid smoke from burning rubber.
extremely or sharply stinging or bitter; exceedingly caustic:
acrid remarks.
Contemporary Examples

Unlike California, it was physical, ugly and acrid back then.
Asians vs. Affirmative Action Lloyd Green March 30, 2014

With 2014 as a congressional election year, the acrid scrums of 2013 will give way to the combat of the campaign.
Want Hope in 2014? Forget Politics, Focus on Energy and Medicine Lloyd Green December 30, 2013

They were hitting on all cylinders as they mined the acrid ore of Mamet’s singular cynicism.
First Peek: Jeremy Piven Debuts On Broadway Kevin Sessums October 4, 2008

Amidst much screeching of breaks and the acrid smell of burning rubber, Cameron executed a high speed u-turn.
The Cameron Option Peter Oborne November 11, 2008

Historical Examples

Its sharp white teeth gleamed in the gaping red mouth, and I could feel its hot breath fierce and acrid upon me.
Dracula’s Guest Bram Stoker

A few should be avoided because of their acrid taste or their strong odor.
The Mushroom, Edible and Otherwise M. E. Hard

Clay is usually cool and very absorbent of the acrid oils occurring in the distillation of tobacco.
Tobacco Leaves W. A. Brennan

The Tavern “office” was crowded and hazy with acrid blue smoke.
Once to Every Man Larry Evans

He snorted and jerked his head as the acrid fumes began to tickle his nostrils and smart his eyes.
Ticktock and Jim Keith Robertson

All this came out of her like an unctuous trickle of some acrid oil.
The Arrow of Gold Joseph Conrad

unpleasantly pungent or sharp to the smell or taste
sharp or caustic, esp in speech or nature

1712, formed irregularly from Latin acer (fem. acris) “sharp, pungent, bitter, eager, fierce,” from PIE *akri- “sharp,” from root *ak- “be sharp, rise (out) to a point, pierce” (cf. Oscan akrid (ablative singular) “sharply;” Greek akis “sharp point,” akros “at the farthest point, highest, outermost,” akantha “thorn,” akme “summit, edge;” also oxys “sharp, bitter;” Sanskrit acri- “corner, edge,” acani- “point of an arrow,” asrih “edge;” Lithuanian ašmuo “sharpness,” akstis “sharp stick;” Old Lithuanian aštras, Lithuanian aštrus “sharp;” Old Church Slavonic ostru, Russian óstryj “sharp;” Old Irish er “high;” Welsh ochr “edge, corner, border;” Old Norse eggja “goad;” Old English ecg “sword”). The -id suffix probably is in imitation of acid. Acrious (1670s) is a correct formation, but seldom seen.

acrid ac·rid (āk’rĭd)
Unpleasantly sharp, pungent, or bitter to the taste or smell.
a·crid’i·ty (ə-krĭd’ĭ-tē) or ac’rid·ness n.


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