1

mordant

adjective mor·dant \ ˈmȯr-dᵊnt \
Updated on: 7 Nov 2017

Definition of mordant

1 :biting and caustic in thought, manner, or style :incisive
  • a mordant wit
2 :acting as a mordant (as in dyeing)
3 :burning, pungent
  • mordant pain

mordantly

adverb

mordant was our Word of the Day on 01/08/2012. Hear the podcast!

Examples of mordant in a Sentence

  1. a writer famous for her mordant humor

  2. 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

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

Synonym Discussion of mordant

caustic, mordant, acrid, scathing mean stingingly incisive. caustic suggests a biting wit.
    • caustic comments
mordant suggests a wit that is used with deadly effectiveness.
    • mordant reviews of the play
acrid implies bitterness and often malevolence.
    • acrid invective
scathing implies indignant attacks delivered with fierce severity.
    • a scathing satire

2

mordant

noun

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

Origin and Etymology of mordant

Other Chemical Engineering Terms


3

mordant

verb

Definition of mordant

transitive verb
:to treat with a mordant

First Known Use of mordant

1836

Other Chemical Engineering Terms


MORDANT Defined for English Language Learners

mordant

adjective

Definition of mordant for English Language Learners

  • : expressing harsh criticism especially in a way that is funny


Medical Dictionary

mordant

noun mor·dant \ ˈmȯrd-ᵊnt \

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

mordant

transitive verb


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