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biting, soothing, mild, gentle



How to pronounce caustic (audio)

Dictionary definition of caustic

Sharp, critical, and biting in nature, often intended to mock or hurt someone's feelings.
"She was caustic in her assessment of the restaurant's food."

Detailed meaning of caustic

When something is characterized as caustic, it implies a level of harshness or acidity in the words or tone used, and it can be especially cutting or scathing in its criticism. Caustic language or humor is typically characterized by its ability to inflict emotional or psychological damage, often leaving the target feeling stung or offended. While caustic remarks may be cleverly crafted, they are not typically intended to amuse but rather to make a pointed critique, often revealing a level of bitterness or cynicism in the speaker's perspective. "Caustic" underscores the idea of a verbal or written attack that leaves a lasting and painful impression.

Example sentences of caustic

1. Her caustic remarks left a trail of hurt feelings in their wake.
2. The caustic critique of the play stung the actors deeply.
3. He had a caustic wit that spared no one from his sharp tongue.
4. The caustic humor in his stand-up comedy often crossed boundaries.
5. The review was filled with caustic comments that undermined the author's work.
6. His caustic remarks in the meeting created a tense atmosphere.

History and etymology of caustic

The adjective 'caustic' has an etymology that aligns with its sharp and biting nature. It can be traced back to the Greek word 'kaustikos,' which is derived from 'kaiein,' meaning 'to burn.' In its original sense, 'caustic' referred to substances capable of burning or corroding, such as acids. Over time, the term evolved metaphorically to describe language or remarks that have a burning or corrosive quality. 'Caustic' now characterizes sharp, critical, and biting remarks that are often intended to mock or hurt someone's feelings. Its etymology vividly captures the idea of language that can burn or corrode, highlighting the potentially destructive and hurtful power of such words.

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Further usage examples of caustic

1. The caustic response to her presentation caught her off guard.
2. The comedian's caustic one-liners pushed the boundaries of political correctness.
3. The caustic columnist had a reputation for skewering public figures.
4. The caustic banter between coworkers often went too far.
5. Her caustic sarcasm made it difficult to engage in meaningful conversation.
6. The caustic commentary on social media escalated the online feud.
7. The caustic critique of the chef's cooking wounded his pride.
8. The professor's caustic feedback left students feeling discouraged.
9. The caustic exchange of insults between rivals escalated tensions.
10. He delivered his caustic remarks with a sly, mocking grin.
11. The caustic humor in the comedy club targeted sensitive topics.
12. The caustic review of the film highlighted its flaws mercilessly.
13. The caustic comments in the debate only deepened the divide.
14. She used caustic language to express her frustration with the situation.
15. The caustic response to the artist's work devastated his confidence.
16. The caustic criticism of the politician's speech dominated the headlines.
17. His caustic sense of humor often left people speechless.
18. The caustic words exchanged between friends strained their relationship.
19. Over time, the caustic remarks eroded the team's camaraderie.


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