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

Definition of sardonic

: disdainfully or skeptically humorous : derisively mocking a sardonic comment

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
Recent Examples on the Web Outside the consulting room, Guralnik can have a sardonic edge, a matter-of-fact briskness. Alexandra Schwartz, The New Yorker, 16 May 2022 James is dashing and a little sardonic as Henry, whose lifelong experiences with time travel have left him with the prickly shell of a survivor, while Leslie throws herself wholeheartedly into Clare’s emotional highs and lows. Angie Han, The Hollywood Reporter, 14 May 2022 Back at the barbecue joint, Sheriff Herman Hickey (Ron Perlman), a gruff longtime lawman with a sardonic sense of humanity, is investigating signs that a bloody slaughter recently occurred on the premises. Joe Leydon, Variety, 12 May 2022 Sometimes, the turn is crude; other times, sardonic. Caitlin Wolper, SPIN, 28 Apr. 2022 Containing about 150 recipes, the pages are jam-packed with the history and science of food and sprinkled with Brown’s wit and sardonic humor. Jennifer Mcclellan, USA TODAY, 26 Apr. 2022 Diane’s sardonic personality is captured for posterity in a famous GIF of Martin, with her hand on her chest and an incredulous look on her face. Washington Post, 20 Apr. 2022 This sardonic sitcom starring Pamela Adlon signs off after five seasons. Matt Cooperlistings Coordinator, Los Angeles Times, 25 Apr. 2022 As Clarissa’s poet friend, Richard, the baritone Brett Polegato sang with lightly sardonic airiness. New York Times, 20 Mar. 2022 See More

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.

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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The first known use of sardonic was in 1638

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sardonic grin

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Last Updated

26 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Sardonic.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 27 May. 2022.

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More from Merriam-Webster on sardonic

Nglish: Translation of sardonic for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of sardonic for Arabic Speakers


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