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From Ancient Greek μυκτηρισμός (muktērismós), from μυκτηρίζω (muktērízō, I sneer), from μυκτήρ (muktḗr, nostril).


  • IPA(key): /ˈmɪktəɹɪzəm/


mycterism (plural mycterisms)

  1. (rare, rhetoric) A subtle or scornful jibe.
    • 1922, George Saintsbury, A history of criticism and literary taste in Europe from the earliest texts to the present day, page 301:
      But he recovers himself soon, if only by the dry fashion in which he observes that, if anybody does not know it, the Greeks call certain kinds of allegory sarcasm, asteism, antiphasis, and parœmia, to which it may be well to at mycterism, a kind of derision which is dissembled, but not altogether concealed―as very neatly by M. Fabius Quintillianus in the passage before us.
    • 2013, J. Phillipson, C.P. Cavafy Historical Poems[1]:
      As he makes clear, he has quite a few such “nauseatingly gross figures of clay” in mind, turning the irony or sarcasm of a specific instant into widespread mycterism—broad disdain pronounced with a sneer.