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
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Recent Examples on the Web The third movement dripped with sardonic pathos, with its several disparate melodies on a collision course toward a series of timpani thuds that sounded as final as a clod of dirt falling into the grave., 20 Nov. 2021 Among them is the sardonic confidant, St. Quentin; the down-at-the-heels military man, Major Brutt; and the impecunious, high-living chancer, Eddie. Washington Post, 18 Nov. 2021 Alienation and angst are embodied in this quirky and sardonic British series. Los Angeles Times, 18 Nov. 2021 Bourdain's brand was strong: sardonic, smart, and yet sincere. Cailey Rizzo, Travel + Leisure, 31 Oct. 2021 The genre, in its every-day-is-Halloween excesses, might seem to be sardonic or simply delusional—more evidence, perhaps, of our uniquely whimsical dystopia. Megan Garber, The Atlantic, 28 Oct. 2021 Dylan started a talking blues—a wry narrative in a sardonic recitative style, which had been developed by Woody Guthrie. Mick Stevens, The New Yorker, 12 Aug. 2021 There’s sparkly, emo Edward; sardonic bad boy Spike in all his peroxide glory; ponytailed gay dads Lestat and Louis. Vulture Editors, Vulture, 25 Oct. 2021 The musician Aimee Mann has been earning praise in The New Yorker for decades, both for her captivating melodies and for her clever, soulful, sometimes sardonic lyrics. The New Yorker, 8 Oct. 2021

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

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The first known use of sardonic was in 1638

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Dictionary Entries Near sardonic



sardonic grin

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Last Updated

22 Nov 2021

Cite this Entry

“Sardonic.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 6 Dec. 2021.

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English Language Learners Definition of sardonic

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

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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