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caustic (adj.)

c. 1400, "capable of burning or destroying organic tissue, corrosive," from Latin causticus "burning, caustic," from Greek kaustikos "capable of burning; corrosive," from kaustos "combustible; burnt," verbal adjective from kaiein, the Greek word for "to burn" (transitive and intransitive) in all periods, which is of uncertain origin with no certain cognates outside Greek.

Figurative sense of "sarcastic, severely critical" is attested from 1771. As a noun "a caustic substance," early 15c., from the adjective.

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Definitions of caustic from WordNet
1
caustic (adj.)
harsh or corrosive in tone;
caustic jokes about political assassination, talk-show hosts and medical ethics
Synonyms: acerb / acerbic / acid / acrid / bitter / blistering / sulfurous / sulphurous / virulent / vitriolic
caustic (adj.)
of a substance, especially a strong acid; capable of destroying or eating away by chemical action;
Synonyms: corrosive / erosive / mordant
2
caustic (n.)
any chemical substance that burns or destroys living tissue;
From wordnet.princeton.edu