Events, places, people, experiences, etc. evoke feelings of happiness or grief. They rarely manage to induce the two contrasting emotions at the same time. But when they end up doing so, the resulting effect is referred to as "bittersweet".
The word "bittersweet" is used when a sentence explains a mixed emotion. If the discussion is about food, usage of the word – as in "bittersweet chocolate" – denotes the chocolate tastes both sweet and bitter. On the other hand, the phrase "bittersweet memory" means something happy and also sad.
Keep reading to learn the in-depth meaning and the various connotations of the word "bittersweet", how should you be properly using the term in a sentence, a host of example sentences with the word, etc.
Bittersweet – The Definition
Literally speaking, the word "bittersweet" is an adjective describing a taste that's sweet and bitter at the same time. For instance, a bar of cocoa-rich chocolate that has little sugariness in it has a bittersweet taste. Bittersweet chocolate contains less sugar and more chocolate compared to semisweet or milk chocolate.
In figurative speeches, however, "bittersweet" means an experience or feeling that's simultaneously painful and pleasant. For example, the day of graduation is a bittersweet moment for most students. The pleasant side of it is the realization or sense of accomplishment that comes from having finished a college degree. The unpleasant part stems from having to bid adieu to the campus or realizing the graduation moment will not come ever again.
Another example of a bittersweet moment is a memorial service where the attendees can be found sharing their personal happy stories involving the deceased while also trying to come to terms with the fact that the individual in their thoughts is not with them anymore. The memories and feelings make the mourners happy and sad simultaneously.
How to Properly Use "Bittersweet" in a Sentence
To properly use bittersweet in a sentence, it's important to get the word's meaning right or use it in the proper context. If it serves a culinary purpose, make sure the word represents a taste that's good and not-so-good at the same time. The pleasant and unpleasant feelings shouldn't arise in an alternating sequence but simultaneously.
If you are using the word in a sentence to describe a smile, make sure the correct meaning is conveyed. A bittersweet smile basically denotes sadness, resignation, and reluctant acceptance of the situation. It shouldn't be confused with a "bitter smile", which essentially exhibits disappointment and negativity. A "wry smile", on the other hand, expresses false acceptance of something one is not pleased with.
Kindly note the aforementioned descriptions explain "bittersweet" in its adjective avatar. When used as a noun, "bittersweet" literally means a climbing plant that's part of the Celastrus genus or nightshade family. The word could also denote a woody vine.
Examples of Sentences with the Word "Bittersweet"
The following is a fairly comprehensive list of sentences using the word "bittersweet":
- The ending was bittersweet, with losses suffered by both sides.
- The liquor tastes bittersweet and is invariably mixed with ice and soda water.
- As the film was bittersweet, he was found crying and laughing in the theater.
- Despite some great performances, sound production, and a haunting background score, the movie's ending was somewhat bittersweet.
- The events had a bittersweet, innately nostalgic element to them.
- I love the fruit's bittersweet taste.
- The lyrics are most certainly bittersweet.
- Parting ways with my ex-husband was a bittersweet experience for me.
- As the candy goes by the name "Sweet Tarts", expect its taste to be bittersweet.
- It is a bit bittersweet, with oil appearing on the surface.
- This moment is bittersweet because it is exciting and also because it won't likely happen again.
- You could opt for any variety of sweetened chocolate: bittersweet chocolate, milk chocolate, white chocolate, or dark chocolate.
- I gave her a bittersweet sigh and made sure I was not acting selfishly.
- They are bittersweet family chronicles, rueful memory plays, compassionate portraits of losers, oddballs, and rascals.
- I melted 6 ounces of bittersweet chocolate into the large bowl along with 12 tablespoons of butter.
- The flavors are loud and replete with bittersweet raspberry and blackberry flavors.
- The flavor changes based on the cultivar or species, but it usually tastes bittersweet and sharp with a warm and strong aroma.
- The relationship between the country's soccer team and the national media is bittersweet to say the least.
- His last meeting with his girlfriend was bittersweet.
- The victory was bittersweet.
- My mom is not with me anymore and I am only left with pictures and some bittersweet memories of her.
- His matured thinking helped him not derail during his bittersweet childhood.
- He knew about my bittersweet courtship with her and yet he never tried to give his unsolicited opinion on it.
- It goes well with pheasant stewed chicken, kidney, and some bittersweet sauce.
- Along the way, he told us a bittersweet, poignant story.
- My first true relationship was bittersweet, to say the least.
- And, therefore, their story is a bittersweet narrative filled with hate and love.
- Even the only story that concluded with a conquest contained a bittersweet tinge.
- The movie's bittersweet ending is just right.
- Devoid of magic, bittersweet memories will continually haunt the room.
- It is a bittersweet story of a young woman who fell prey to her own flaws.
Here are a couple of sentences with the word's plural form "bittersweets" in them:
- The Atlantic Bittersweet and Decussate Bittersweet are the other two local bittersweets.
- The shells that I collected are bittersweets; they are also gastropods.
Kindly note "bittersweets" is not a commonly used word.
What Does the Phrase "Bittersweet People" Mean? What Attributes Do "Bittersweet" People Have?
"Do not trust words. Most people who talk sweet have their mouths coated with sugar, but their hearts are infused with venom."
Bittersweet people are individuals who come across as the most ideal people as they usually talk things the other person would like to hear. Typically, with their praises, these individuals seek your approval or just want to make you feel good. And they could deftly accomplish both goals simultaneously. Oftentimes, as their words are not sincere, their actions tend to betray them or be the exact opposite.
For instance, the person could praise your abilities to look after your kids. They may, however, never let you babysit their own children. In other words, irrespective of how sweet the things coming out of their mouth is, their actions usually give away their actual feelings about you, which could be hurtful or not very pleasant.
The worst part is that you may not be able to steer clear of such people. They tend to be a part of your lives at work, school, within social and/or familial circles, etc. Having said that, not all people with a smile on their face are ingenuine. There are individuals who say good things about you and do mean it.
Bittersweet people tend to have the following attributes:
- They aren't sincere. Once you've caught them lying, it could be quite difficult or impossible to fully trust them going forward. You might also start to believe that the information they shared as "facts" before could be false or motivated.
- They lack spontaneity. Lying is not easy. It's complicated. One needs to remember a variety of concocted data to continue lying seamlessly. Remembering the various information shared in the past and processing them all to link and form new false theories takes time. And that delay clearly shows during conversations with "bittersweet" people.
- They don't care about your feelings. If the words uttered made you feel bad, the "bittersweet" individual will not do anything concrete to bring about a change in your feelings.
- They are manipulative. With certain words, they could take you on a guilt trip for not having behaved in a certain manner. They leave no opportunity to take complete advantage of things you say and will never hesitate to turn your words against you.
Are There Words that Have the Same or Similar Meaning as "Bittersweet"?
Some of the words/phrases that could be used as an alternative word for "bittersweet" or used in a similar context are:
- Tragicomic: Soon the situation spiraled out of control, resulting in a tragicomic muddle of language barriers, blunders, spin control, and bureaucratic snafus.
- Sweet and sour: In the hour set aside for cooking, Martin was able to prepare six dishes which included sweet-and-sour pork, courgette au gratin, and haddock kedgeree.
- Mixed emotions: Again, there were zero findings recognizing mixed emotions.
However, the word that comes closest in meaning to "bittersweet" is "saudade".
The term "saudate" indicates a deeply emotional situation of profound melancholy or nostalgia, yearning for something or someone distant. It denotes the recollection of experiences, feelings, events, or places that once brought pleasure, excitement, and well-being. It denotes the agony of separation. However, it also acknowledges longing for the past will detract from the joy one feels toward the future.
In short, "saudade" describes a feeling that's both sad and happy.
The word "bittersweet" is a fairly self-explanatory term. But it still tends to get misinterpreted or used incorrectly quite often. This article's focus was to throw more light on the correct usage of the term and clear the air about it. And if you come across people who say good things to you but do not mean what they say, you now know what to call them.
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Shawn Manaher is the founder and CEO of The Content Authority. He's one part content manager, one part writing ninja organizer, and two parts leader of top content creators. You don't even want to know what he calls pancakes.