The adjective bittersweet describes a taste that is a blend of bitter and sweet. Bittersweet chocolate, for example, contains more chocolate and less sugar than milk chocolate or even semisweet chocolate.

The adjective bittersweet doesn’t just refer to taste. It can also describe a blend of emotions that are sweet but also tinged with sadness. If you attend a memorial service for your grandmother, for example, you can enjoy telling stories of the things you did together, but still feel sad that she’s gone. The feelings and memories you have make you simultaneously happy and sad, and are therefore bittersweet.

Definitions of bittersweet
  1. adjective

    having a taste that is a mixture of bitterness and sweetness



    pleasing to the sense of taste
  2. adjective

    tinged with sadness

    “a movie with a
    bittersweet ending”


    experiencing or showing sorrow or unhappiness
  3. noun

    twining shrub of North America having yellow capsules enclosing scarlet seeds

    American bittersweet, Celastrus scandens, climbing bittersweet, false bittersweet, shrubby bittersweet, staff vine, waxwork
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    type of:


    a plant with a weak stem that derives support from climbing, twining, or creeping along a surface

  4. noun

    poisonous perennial Old World vine having violet flowers and oval coral-red berries; widespread weed in North America

    Solanum dulcamara, bittersweet nightshade, climbing nightshade, deadly nightshade, poisonous nightshade, woody nightshade
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    type of:


    any of numerous shrubs or herbs or vines of the genus Solanum; most are poisonous though many bear edible fruit

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