- A chemical that gives off hydrogen ions in water and forms salts by combining with certain metals. Acids have a sour taste and turn certain dyes red. Some acids made by the body, such as gastric acid, can help organs work the way they should. An example of an acid is hydrochloric acid. Acidity is measured on a scale called the pH scale. On this scale, a value of 7 is neutral, and a pH value of less than 7 to 0 shows increasing acidity.