mordant was our Word of the Day on 01/08/2012. Hear the podcast!
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Examples of mordant in a Sentence
a writer famous for her mordant humor
a mordant review of the movie that compared it to having one's teeth pulled for two hours
Recent Examples of mordant from the Web
Rendered in hazy grays and blues and browns, the new series has a melancholic, rainy charm and a mordant wit peculiar to English mysteries, and of a sort many viewers will find familiar and comforting, if not necessarily compelling.
After the prologue, a writer (the beautifully mordant April Matthis, standing in for Ms. Callaghan) approaches a microphone and tells a series of increasingly corny jokes.
Roy’s novel is marbled with mordant anecdotes and sardonic humor that hit their marks on the absurdity of nationalism, caste, fundamentalism, war, gender politics and the human condition.
Her Alison boasts a mordant wit and a determination to face the past honestly, even if her memories pain or perplex her.
Presumably this is partly thanks to Muhly (the current era’s leading go-between for cutting-edge classical music and cutting-edge rock), Dessner (of the mordant, mood-making band The National), and McAlister (a frequent Stevens collaborator).
The movie is less palatable, though, as some sentimental notes fit poorly with Martin’s often mordant humor.
Soup’s on: In The Dinner Party (Little, Brown), Joshua Ferris invites you to make a meal out of his mordant tales about life’s quicksilver changes.
When Veep premiered in 2012, critics hailed it as a mordant satire that was, if anything, just a bit too broad and nihilistic to adequately reflect the complexity of American politics.
These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'mordant.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.
Did You Know?
The etymology of mordant certainly has some bite to it. That word, which came to modern English through Middle French, ultimately derives from the Latin verb mordēre, which means "to bite." In modern parlance, "mordant" usually suggests a wit used with deadly effectiveness. "Mordēre" puts the bite into other English terms, too. For instance, that root gave us the tasty "morsel" ("a tiny bite"). But nibble too many of those and you’ll likely be hit by another "mordēre" derivative: "remorse" ("guilt for past wrongs"), which comes from Latin remordēre, meaning "to bite again."
Origin and Etymology of mordant
Middle French, present participle of mordre to bite, from Latin mordēre; perhaps akin to Sanskrit mṛdnāti he presses, rubs
First Known Use: 15th centurySee Words from the same year
Synonym Discussion of mordant
Definition of mordant
1 : a chemical that fixes a dye in or on a substance by combining with the dye to form an insoluble compound
2 : a corroding substance used in etching
Definition of mordant
: to treat with a mordant
First Known Use of mordant
MORDANT Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of mordant for English Language Learners
: expressing harsh criticism especially in a way that is funny
Medical Definition of mordant
: a chemical that fixes a dye in or on a substance by combining with the dye to form an insoluble compound
Seen and Heard
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