The common European bittern is Botaurus stellaris. It makes, during the brooding season, a noise
called by Dryden bumping, and by Goldsmith booming. The American bittern is B. lentiginosus, and
is also called stake-driver and meadow hen. See Stake- driver.
The name is applied to other related birds, as the least bittern and the sun bittern.
(Bit"tern), n. [From Bitter, a.]
1. The brine which remains in salt works after the salt is concreted, having a bitter taste from the chloride
of magnesium which it contains.
2. A very bitter compound of quassia, cocculus Indicus, etc., used by fraudulent brewers in adulterating
(Bit"ter*ness) n. [AS. biternys; biter better + -nys = -ness.]
1. The quality or state of being bitter, sharp, or acrid, in either a literal or figurative sense; implacableness; resentfulness; severity; keenness
of reproach or sarcasm; deep distress, grief, or vexation of mind.
The lip that curls with bitterness.
I will complain in the bitterness of my soul.
Job vii. 11.
2. A state of extreme impiety or enmity to God.
Thou art in the gall of bitterness, and in the bond of iniquity.
Acts viii. 23.
3. Dangerous error, or schism, tending to draw persons to apostasy.
Looking diligently, . . . lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you.
Heb. xii. 15.
(Bit"ter*nut"), n. (Bot.) The swamp hickory Its thin-shelled nuts are bitter.
(Bit"ter*root`) n. (Bot.) A plant (Lewisia rediviva) allied to the purslane, but with fleshy, farinaceous
roots, growing in the mountains of Idaho, Montana, etc. It gives the name to the Bitter Root mountains
and river. The Indians call both the plant and the river Spæt'lum.
(Bit"ters) n. pl. A liquor, generally spirituous in which a bitter herb, leaf, or root is steeped.
(Bit"ter spar") A common name of dolomite; so called because it contains magnesia, the
soluble salts of which are bitter. See Dolomite.
(Bit"ter*sweet`) a. Sweet and then bitter or bitter and then sweet; esp. sweet with a bitter
after taste; hence pleasant but painful.
1. Anything which is bittersweet.
2. A kind of apple so called. Gower.
3. (Bot.) (a) 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. (b) 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.
(Bit"ter*weed`) n. (Bot.) A species of Ambrosia (A. artemisiæfolia); Roman worm wood. Gray.