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From French sardonique, from Latin sardonius, from Ancient Greek σαρδόνιος (sardónios), alternative form of σαρδάνιος (sardánios, bitter or scornful laughter), which is often cited as deriving from the Sardinian plant (Ranunculus sardous), known as either σαρδάνη (sardánē) or σαρδόνιον (sardónion). When eaten, it would cause the eater's face to contort in a look resembling scorn (generally followed by death). It might also be related to σαίρω (saírō, I grin).



sardonic (comparative more sardonic, superlative most sardonic)

  1. Scornfully mocking or cynical.
    He distances himself from people with his nasty, sardonic laughter.
    • Sir H. Wotton
      strained, sardonic smiles
    • Burke
      the scornful, ferocious, sardonic grin of a bloody ruffian
  2. Disdainfully or ironically humorous.

Related terms[edit]