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Dear Users,


1) Would you say that the word acrimonious is used often in today's English?

2) Can it be used both in formal and informal registers?

3) Could I say, for instance: My every attempt at getting some help from him are met with acrimonious answers.

4) Does it have a similar meaning to snarky? Snarky remarks/acromonious remarks


Thank you

Comments  
Perfect Stranger1) Would you say that the word acrimonious is used often in today's English?

The Oxford English Dictionary categorizes words by "Frequency Band" on a scale from 1 to 8, with 1 being the rarest. It is a measure of how frequently a word has appeared in print since 1970. "Acrimonious" is in Band 4 along with "candlestick" and "insectivore". In my opinion, it is used more often than is warranted, that if you ask the people who use it exactly what it means, they would get the definition a bit wrong more often than not. It has currency in phrases like "acrimonious divorce".

Perfect Stranger2) Can it be used both in formal and informal registers?

It is of moderately high register outside of its common phrases.

Perfect Stranger3) Could I say, for instance: My every attempt at getting some help from him are met with acrimonious answers.

No, but not because of the word "acrimonious:": "My every attempt at getting some help from him is met with an acrimonious answer." That is a good use of the word.

Perfect Stranger4) Does it have a similar meaning to snarky? Snarky remarks/acromonious remarks

Now that you mention it, yes. You might say that "snarky" has supplanted it in everyday speech. "Acrimonious" is stronger, though.

1. To comment further on this, I'm a native English speaker in the US, and the word "acrimonious" is very well known here. Everyone is familiar with it, from 10 year olds to 100 year olds, which is rather surprising, because it is not heard often. I've never used it in speech or writing in my life. How everyone has gotten so familiar with it when it is so seldom used is something of a mystery.


2. It would never be used in casual speech. In fact, I don't know where it would typically be used.


3. The given sentence is grammatical, but this would sound overly formal in speech or writing.


4. "Acrimonious" is much better known than "snarky" - I'm not sure offhand what snarky means. I've heard or read the word snarky maybe once in my life and that was decades ago. I would suggest not trying to use either word in speech or writing. If I, a native speaker, have a hard time using them, an adult learner is sure to misuse them.