1. Forum
  2. >
  3. Topic: French
  4. >
  5. Acide vs. Sur vs. Aigre


Acide vs. Sur vs. Aigre

I have seen these all meaning something like "sour," but what are the differences and are they subtle?

September 2, 2017



Have you tried wordreference? It provides more detail than many dictionaries. My guess is that it depends on the context and that the differences are similar to those between acidic and sour (and maybe even bitter). No doubt someone else can provide a better answer but I thought this was an interesting question.

sur - sour, bitter http://www.wordreference.com/fren/aigre

Acide and aigre seem to have many more meanings related to this and can be used metaphorically:




Je dirais, dans l'ordre :

1 _ Acide ( un goût un peu piquant, "j'aime les pommes acides")

2 _ Sur (un tout petit peu aigre) /

3 _ Aigre (goût franchement désagréable)


That is also how I see it. I should have said: aigre = very sour.


All are rather close in meaning, but I think I would do like this:

  • acide = acidic
  • aigre = sour
  • amer/amère = bitter
  • sur/sure = sour


@MarcD50, what about Aigre vs. Sur? Can either be used?


According to dictionaries, 'aigre' = 'sur', but like Prenom.Pierre, I think 'aigre' is more acidic than 'sur', and unpleasant.

'Vinegar' is 'vinaigre' in French, and it was originally 'vin aigre' = 'sour wine'. Not the kind of wine you would drink at a party, I think. ;)


Thanks. Your reply was helpful.

Learn French in just 5 minutes a day. For free.