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

be bitter and twisted

To be miserable, typically because of past traumas or problems. My sister is bitter and twisted after years in a bad relationship. Oh, she's been bitter and twisted ever since she found out she didn't make the team.
See also: and, bitter, twist

a bitter pill to swallow

An unwanted or unpleasant situation that someone is forced to accept. A pronoun for the person in such a situation can be mentioned between "pill" and "to," as in "a bitter pill for her 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 to swallow, but it made me a better worker.
See also: bitter, pill, swallow

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
References in periodicals archive ?
Tears of regret have the bitterest taste Like rust in the mouth of a mechanical man Knowing the truth but not doing a thing Relaxed and lulled into a false sense of security About the Author
Is it possible that even some of our bitterest foes might make the cut?
McNealy, speaking at JavaOne 2003, gave his thoughts on two of the industry's biggest and bitterest legal disputes - Oracle' attempt to buy PeopleSoft for $16.
In 1845 Douglass could not afford to focus repeatedly on the "ineffable sadness" of slave songs or on the songs' reflection of "souls boiling over with the bitterest anguish," even though he reports early in the Narrative that "every tone [is] a testimony against slavery" (58).
And the Mexico showdown will bring two of the America's bitterest rivals together for a clash that is too close to call because of the history between the pair.
1m [pounds sterling] deal to sponsor England's bitterest rivals, Scotland.
in 1968, discusses dissident Soviet writers like Andrei Amalrik, but reserves his bitterest scorn for the attacks on Camus by Simone de Beauvoir and Sartre for not toeing the pro-Soviet line.
Still, it was quite an accolade coming from the captain of Celtic's bitterest rivals just hours before a Hampden Old Firm derby.
Gandhi, Sojourner Truth, Archbishop Desmond Tutu--they seem to possess the secret of winter foliage, the secret that keeps leaves steadfast in the bitterest season.
As with so many Internet standards, this area is being fought over by at least two powerful forces: Cisco Systems and a consortium composed of some of its bitterest competitors.
He had also made clear that, while reserving his bitterest hatred for Jews, he had extreme contempt for blacks too:
Two nations who have in this century healed some of the bitterest antipathy in history are France and Germany.
Even his critics could not resist the courage of the man; indeed, one of his bitterest foes stood at the back of the hall, with tears running down his cheeks, and told a reporter: "I hate the son of a bitch.
In reality it was the bitterest medicine which Therese had to take.
One of Fritz's bitterest enemies in the Forest Service told me, "Ned Fritz is a gentleman.