bitter

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till/until the bitter end

1. Until the point of completion or conclusion, even though it may be difficult, unpleasant, or take a long time to reach. Possibly of nautical origin, referring to the "bitts" on a dock to which a ship's ropes are moored. I'm not really enjoying this book, but I always make a point of sticking with a novel till the bitter end.
2. To the final or most critical extremity, such as death or total defeat. We might not have a chance of winning today, but we have to give it our all until the bitter end! My father stayed beside my dying mother's bed till the bitter end.
See also: bitter, end, till, until

a bitter pill

An unwanted or unpleasant situation that someone is forced to accept. A shortening of the phrase, "a bitter pill to swallow." When Brett's parents stopped giving him money to pay his bills and told him to get a job, it was a bitter pill for him to swallow. Getting a poor performance review was a bitter pill, but it made me a better worker.
See also: bitter, pill

bitter pill to swallow

Fig. an unpleasant fact that has to be accepted. (Does not involve pills or swallowing.) It was a bitter pill for her brother to swallow when she married his enemy. We found his deception a bitter pill to swallow.
See also: bitter, pill, swallow

Take the bitter with the sweet.

Prov. Accept the bad things as well as the good things that happen. (Implies that the bad and good things you are talking about are very serious or important.) If you intend to get married, you must be prepared to take the bitter with the sweet.
See also: bitter, sweet, take

to the bitter end

 and till the bitter end
Fig. to the very end. (Originally nautical. This originally had nothing to do with bitterness.) I'll stay till the bitter end. It took me a long time to get through school, but I worked hard at it all the way to the bitter end.
See also: bitter, end

to the bitter end

See: stick it out
See also: bitter, end

a bitter pill (to swallow)

an unpleasant situation that must be accepted Losing the championship was a bitter pill to swallow for a team that was used to winning every year. Having his fate in the hands of others is a bitter pill for this proud man.
See also: bitter, pill

a bitter pill (to swallow)

  also bitter medicine
a situation that is unpleasant but must be accepted Losing the championship to a younger player was a bitter pill to swallow. Cuts in salaries are a dose of bitter medicine that may help the company to survive.
See also: bitter, pill

be bitter and twisted

to be angry and unhappy, usually because you are unable to forget bad things which have happened to you in the past I had a difficult childhood, but there's no point getting all bitter and twisted about it.
See also: and, bitter, twist

the bitter fruits

  (literary)
the unpleasant results of something Disease and malnutrition are the bitter fruits of an inefficient social healthcare policy.
See also: bitter, fruit

to the bitter end

if you do something to the bitter end, you continue it until it is finished, although it is difficult and takes a long time Many climbers gave up before they reached the summit, but I was determined to stick it out to the bitter end.
See also: bitter, end

bitter end

The last extremity; also, death or ruin. For example, I'm supporting the union's demands to the bitter end, or Even though they fight a lot, I'm sure Mom and Dad will stay together to the bitter end . The source of this term may have been nautical, a bitter being a turn of a cable around posts, or bitts, on a ship's deck, and the bitter end meaning "the part of the cable that stays inboard." Thus, when a rope is paid out to the bitter end, no more remains. [Mid-1800s]
See also: bitter, end

bitter pill to swallow

An unpleasant fact, disappointment, or humiliation that is difficult to endure. For example, Failing the bar exam was a bitter pill to swallow, but he plans to try again next year . [Late 1500s]
See also: bitter, pill, swallow

take the bitter with the sweet

Accept adversity as well as good fortune, as in Although he got the job, he hadn't counted on having to work with Matthew; he'll just have to take the bitter with the sweet . This idiom uses bitter for "bad" and sweet for "good," a usage dating from the late 1300s. It was first recorded in John Heywood's 1546 proverb collection. For a synonym, see take the rough with the smooth.
See also: bitter, sweet, take

the weed of crime bears bitter fruit

No good will come from criminal schemes. The Shadow was a very popular radio detective series that began in the early 1930s. Its hero, playboy Lamont Cranston, had “the power to cloud men's minds,” a form of hypnosis by which he appeared off to the side of where people thought he stood (contrary to popular belief, the Shadow did not make himself invisible). After the credits at the end of every episode, the Shadow intoned, “The weed of crime bears bitter fruit. Crime does not pay! The Shadow knows,” and then utter a sardonic laugh. Another famous Shadow-ism was “Who knows what evil lurks in the minds of men?—The Shadow knows!”
See also: bear, bitter, crime, fruit, of, weed