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 sardonically (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 This letter, tinged with Austen’s signature sardonic wit, will be up for auction next week. Brigit Katz, Smithsonian, "This Jane Austen Letter Highlights the Horrors of 19th-Century Dentistry," 19 Oct. 2019 Her unique voice, a sardonic wit laced with romantic optimism, is as welcome (and needed) as before. Maureen Lee Lenker,, "Hot Stuff: September romances visit Victorian Oxford, a Renaissance Faire, Michelin restaurants, and more," 30 Sep. 2019 Perhaps the biggest advantage the Titans have is the cerebral and sardonic Vrabel as coach., "Patriots face a tough road ahead to keep the dynasty rolling - The Boston Globe," 31 Dec. 2019 Browns celebrated their pathetic 2017 season — when the team could not muster a single win in 16 games — during a sardonic January 2018 Perfect Season Parade. Mary Kilpatrick, cleveland, "Ebola terrifies Northeast Ohio, Johnny Football comes to town: Biggest talkers of the 2010s," 30 Dec. 2019 The sheer diversity of references—Japanese anime, Hollywood classics, Tang-dynasty poetry—was dizzying, and the sardonic delivery, laced with anger, cynicism, and wit, embodied the exuberant swagger of the movement. Jiayang Fan, The New Yorker, "Hong Kong’s Protest Movement and the Fight for the City’s Soul," 9 Dec. 2019 Slasher flick too sardonic to be taken seriously as satire. Ross Raihala, Twin Cities, "Playmobil jumps from the toy shelf to the silver screen this week at the movies," 1 Dec. 2019 Erin Doherty’s sardonic, take-no-prisoners Princess Anne was an indisputable standout in The Crown’s third season. Emma Dibdin, Town & Country, "The Crown Season 3 Sidelined Princess Anne and Her Accomplishments," 15 Dec. 2019 Founded by Michael Zilkha and Michel Esteban in 1978, ZE Records was home to a genre-blurring roster of artists who freely mixed everything from disco to Latin to post-punk to dance, all with the sardonic wit of a street-savvy outsider. Joe Lynch, Billboard, "From ZE Records to Debbie Gibson: A PR Vet's Eclectic Life Behind the Curtain," 12 Dec. 2019

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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Last Updated

20 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Sardonic.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 25 January 2020.

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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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Comments on sardonic

What made you want to look up sardonic? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


dull or mediocre

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