sar·​don·​ic | \ sär-ˈdä-nik How to pronounce sardonic (audio) \

Definition of sardonic

: disdainfully or skeptically humorous : derisively mocking a sardonic comment

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Other Words from sardonic

sardonically \ sär-​ˈdä-​ni-​k(ə-​)lē How to pronounce sardonic (audio) \ adverb

Choose the Right Synonym for sardonic

sarcastic, satiric, ironic, sardonic mean marked by bitterness and a power or will to cut or sting. sarcastic implies an intentional inflicting of pain by deriding, taunting, or ridiculing. a critic known for his sarcastic remarks satiric implies that the intent of the ridiculing is censure and reprobation. a satiric look at contemporary society ironic implies an attempt to be amusing or provocative by saying usually the opposite of what is meant. made the ironic observation that the government could always be trusted sardonic implies scorn, mockery, or derision that is manifested by either verbal or facial expression. surveyed the scene with a sardonic smile

Examples of sardonic in a Sentence

"The Great War," used interchangeably with "the First World War" (so named in 1918 by a sardonic English journalist, who knew it would not be the last such conflict) … — Benjamin Schwarz, Atlantic, May 1999 They have that brand of sardonic humor special to people up against it: black and wry and shocking … — Doris Lessing, New Yorker, 16 Mar. 1987 In a story by Flaubert, this spreading of cloths to save the carpet would be observed with a sardonic eye; in Lawrence it is bleakly practical. — Hugh Kenner, A Sinking Island, 1987 The movie is a sardonic look at modern life. a sardonic little jab that made her visitor quiet and subdued for the rest of the night
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Recent Examples on the Web Looking through a sardonic lens can help us process events that were quite serious and devastating. Sydney Walton, CNN, "If you're trying to make sense of the Capitol riot, read these books," 16 Jan. 2021 Many also have a sardonic sense of humor, which helps when reading and evaluating thousands of essays. Steven M. Galbraith, WSJ, "Charter Schools vs. Eco-Tours: It’s No Contest," 23 Dec. 2020 Directed by Broadway veteran George C. Wolfe, the film is a showcase for the late Chadwick Boseman, here in his final role as a lean, sardonic, hot-headed horn player. Kyle Smith, National Review, "The Top Ten Best Movies of 2020," 31 Dec. 2020 Also: Her sardonic work friends are John Krasinski and a very pregnant Kathryn Hahn. Emma Specter, Vogue, "33 Thoughts I Had While Rewatching The Holiday," 26 Dec. 2020 There was a sardonic justice in the final twist that concluded the long and tangled story of Brexit, equal parts tragedy and farce. Matt Seaton, The New York Review of Books, "What’s Brexit to Do with the Price of Fish?," 24 Dec. 2020 Bill’s ghost will be there making sardonic jokes and Regina’s will be there too, talking about her latest boyfriend. Mary Schmich,, "Column: To those who can’t be with us," 25 Dec. 2020 Our sardonic superhero needs to get the timing just right to crash through the sunroof and beat up the bad guys. Rhett Allain, Wired, "How Would Deadpool Jump Into a Moving Vehicle?," 23 Dec. 2020 That’s a question that artist John Baldessari asked a few years ago, in his typically sardonic, deceptively simple way. Los Angeles Times, "Culture in 2020: What we lost and found in the year of COVID," 14 Dec. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'sardonic.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of sardonic

1638, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for sardonic

re-formation, with the suffix -ic entry 1, of earlier sardonian, from Greek sardónios, alteration (after Sardónios "Sardinian") of earlier sardánios "(of laughter or smiling) bitter, scornful" (of obscure origin) + -an entry 2

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Time Traveler for sardonic

Time Traveler

The first known use of sardonic was in 1638

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Statistics for sardonic

Last Updated

26 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Sardonic.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 27 Jan. 2021.

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More Definitions for sardonic


How to pronounce sardonic (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of sardonic

formal : showing that you disapprove of or do not like someone or something : showing disrespect or scorn for someone or something

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