adjective sar·don·ic \sär-ˈdä-nik\

Definition of sardonic

  1. :  disdainfully or skeptically humorous :  derisively mocking a sardonic comment


play \-ni-k(ə-)lē\ adverb

Examples of sardonic in a sentence

  1. “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

  2. 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

  3. 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

  4. The movie is a sardonic look at modern life.

  5. a sardonic little jab that made her visitor quiet and subdued for the rest of the night

Origin and Etymology of sardonic

French sardonique, from Greek sardonios

First Known Use: 1638

Synonym Discussion of 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.

SARDONIC Defined for English Language Learners


adjective sar·don·ic \sär-ˈdä-nik\

Definition of sardonic for English Language Learners

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

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capable of being understood in two ways

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