Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A woody vine of the genus Celastrus, especially the North American species C. scandens and the eastern Asian species C. orbiculata, having small, round, yellow-orange fruits that open at maturity to expose red seeds. Also called staff tree.
  • n. See bittersweet nightshade.
  • n. A dark to deep reddish orange.
  • adj. Bitter and sweet at the same time: bittersweet chocolate.
  • adj. Producing or expressing a mixture of pain and pleasure: a movie with a bittersweet ending.
  • adj. Dark to deep reddish-orange.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. Both bitter and sweet.
  • adj. Expressing contrasting emotions of pain and pleasure.
  • n. A vine, of the genus Celastrus, having small orange fruits that open to reveal red seeds.
  • n. The bittersweet nightshade, Solanum dulcamara.
  • n. A variety of apple with a bittersweet taste.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Sweet and then bitter or bitter and then sweet; esp. sweet with a bitter after taste; hence (Fig.), pleasant but painful.
  • n. Anything which is bittersweet.
  • n. A kind of apple so called.
  • n.
  • n. A climbing shrub, with oval coral-red berries (Solanum dulcamara); woody nightshade. The whole plant is poisonous, and has a taste at first sweetish and then bitter. The branches are the officinal dulcamara.
  • n. An American woody climber (Celastrus scandens), whose yellow capsules open late in autumn, and disclose the red aril which covers the seeds; -- also called Roxbury waxwork.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Uniting bitterness and sweetness; pleasant and painful at the same time.
  • n. That which is both bitter and sweet: as, the bitter-sweet of life.
  • n. The woody nightshade, Solanum Dulcamara, a trailing plant, native of Europe and Asia, and naturalized in the United States.
  • n. Same as bitter-sweeting.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • adj. tinged with sadness
  • adj. having a taste that is a mixture of bitterness and sweetness
  • n. poisonous perennial Old World vine having violet flowers and oval coral-red berries; widespread weed in North America
  • n. twining shrub of North America having yellow capsules enclosing scarlet seeds

Etymologies

After its roots, which are said to taste bitter, then sweet when chewed.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
bitter +‎ sweet. (Wiktionary)

Examples

Comments

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  • Life, at best, is bittersweet.
    -Jack Kirby

    I have to add that I love this quote, it's one of my very favourites.

    July 26, 2009

  • An original Crayola crayon color.

    December 28, 2006