Acrimony, acerbity, asperity all agree in denoting temper or language marked by irritation or some degree of anger or resentment.
What’s the difference?
Acrimony implies bitterness or ill will and also greater stinging or blistering power in what is said than the others.
- The dispute was settled without acrimony.
- The council’s first meeting ended in acrimony.
- But instead of ending in agreement, the talks broke up in acrimony at the end of the week.
Acerbity implies sourness as well as bitterness, sometimes as shown in words or mood, but more often as manifested in a morose, embittered nature.
- She was known for her acerbity.
- “Do be quiet, Paul,” Monica said, with unaccustomed acerbity.
Asperity retains implications of harshness and roughness chiefly in reference to style.
- “I didn’t enquire.” answered the doctor with some asperity.