1808 (in acetic acid), from French acétique "pertaining to vinegar, sour, having the properties of vinegar," from Latin acetum "vinegar" (properly vinum acetum "wine turned sour;" see vinegar), originally the past participle of acere "be sharp; be sour" (related to acer "sharp," from PIE root *ak- "be sharp, rise (out) to a point, pierce").
1620s, "of the taste of vinegar," from French acide (16c.) or directly from Latin acidus "sour, sharp, tart" (also figurative, "disagreeable," etc.), adjective of state from acere "to be sour, be sharp" (from PIE root *ak- "be sharp, rise (out) to a point, pierce").
Figurative use in English ("sour, sharp, biting") is from 1775; the word was applied to intense colors by 1916; an acid dye (1888) involves an acid bath. Acid rain "highly acidity in rain caused by atmospheric pollution" is recorded by 1859 in reference to England. Acid drop as a kind of hard sugar candy flavored with tartaric acid is by 1835, with drop (n.) in the "lozenge" sense.
Acid test is American English, 1881, in literal use a quick way to distinguish gold from similar metals by application of nitric acid. Fowler wrote (1920) that it was then in vogue in the figurative sense and "became familiar through a conspicuous use of it during the war by President Wilson."
1690s, from acid (adj.); originally loosely applied to any substance having a sour taste like vinegar, in modern chemistry it was gradually given more precise definitions from early 18c. and is given to many compounds which do not have such a taste.
The slang meaning "LSD-25" first recorded 1966 (see LSD).
When I was on acid I would see things that looked like beams of light, and I would hear things that sounded an awful lot like car horns. [Mitch Hedberg, 1968-2005, U.S. stand-up comic]
Acid rock (type performed or received by people using LSD) is also from 1966; acid house dance music style is 1988, probably from acid in the hallucinogenic sense + house "dance club DJ music style."
before vowels acet-, word-forming element from acetic and generally indicating compounds from or related to acetic acid, thus ultimately from Latin acetum "vinegar."
pyramidine base, coined in German, 1885, perhaps from urea + German Acetsäure "acetic acid" (or possibly acrylic) + chemical suffix -il.
in chemistry, word-forming element used to form the names of salts from acids in -ic; from Latin -atus, -atum, suffix used in forming adjectives and thence nouns; identical with -ate (1).
The substance formed, for example, by the action of acetic acid (vinegar) on lead was described in the 18th century as plumbum acetatum, i.e. acetated lead. Acetatum was then taken as a noun meaning "the acetated (product)," i.e. acetate. [W.E. Flood, "The Origins of Chemical Names," London, 1963]