Friday, September 23, 2011

Forgotten Word Friday: Acerbic

Forgotten Word Fridays are an attempt to bring some vocabulary back into my life and into the world.  Most of these words are not used in everday speech but they could be found in tests such as the SATs.  I choose these words when I find them in whatever book I'm currently reading and am not sure of their meaning.

.Word: Acerbic

How it's pronounced: Uh-sur-bick

Meaning: Acidic in temper, mood, or tone. (Merrium Webster)
1. sour or astringent in taste: Lemon juice is acerbic.
2. harsh or severe, as of temper or expression: acerbic criticism

Where I found it:  I found this while reading Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins.  Katniss (the main character) has to yell, “People of Panem, we fight, we dare, we end our hunger for justice!” into a camera to rally the people of Panem.  After summing up all the anger she can muster and yelling the line:

There’s a dead silence on the set.  It goes on.  And on.  Finally, the intercom crackles and Haymith’s acerbic laugh fills the studio.  He contains himself just long enough to say, “And that, my friends, is how a revolution dies.”  - Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins (page 72.)
(In other words, Haymitch’s laugh reveals that Katniss is a horrible actor and her speech wouldn’t rally Eskimos to build igloos.)

Word picture:  Word pictures are sometimes used to help recall a word.  Sometimes they can be incredibly funny or… as I’m doing it… just part of a sentence to help you remember.

Assure Bick = acerbic

“Could you assure Bick that the consequences will be less severe (acerbic) the sooner he turns himself in?”

How to impress your friends:

At school: "Ms. March’s criticism of my paper was acerbic.”

Politics: "Don’t you think the Judge’s decision for the death penalty was acerbic?”

For parents: "There will be acerbic consequences if you disobey us.”

Think of all the things that could be acerbic!  Your mother’s expression, your enemy’s comment, the recent hail storm, somebody’s punishment, consequences, criticism, or a poisonous drink.

How would you use "acerbic" in everyday life?  If you use it in an everyday blog post I'll link back to you here in this post =]

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