Webster's new World Dictionary, Concise Edition (1960) lying open on a desk

Acerbity: Wednesday Words

I grew up in the northeastern United States, where acerbity is appreciated. To outsiders it may sound cold and harsh (like the winter), but there’s no guessing where someone stands!

College took me to the southeastern US, away from winter and brutal honesty. Sixteen years later, after marrying and adding three little people to our family, I returned north. Back to the cold and knowing how people feel!

Acerbity: sharpness and directness in speech

While I do enjoy direct communication, I must admit I’m not too fond of the sharp edges that sometimes accompany it.

I had a summer job one year working at a retirement facility for nuns of a certain religious order. For half the summer I dusted, made beds, vacuumed, and prepared breakfast under the supervision of a sharp-tongued sister. I absolutely knew what she wanted and what I’d done wrong, but seldom heard what I’d done right.

The second half of that same summer I worked in the kitchen of another building with an honest, loving sister who spoke truth directly with love. What a difference! This time there was constructive criticism tied with encouragement. Through her kindness she made me want to do better. I liked her so much I returned the next summer!

May we all follow the encouragement found in Paul’s letter to the Ephesian church:

Instead, we will speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ, who is the head of his body, the church.

Ephesians 4:15 NLT

Check out my Wednesday Words vocabulary expansion project, and join in the fun!

Write a post using the word “acerbity,” then leave a link to your post in the comments below. I’d love to read what you write!

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