[ mawr-dnt ]
See synonyms for mordant on
  1. sharply caustic or sarcastic, as wit or a speaker; biting.

  1. having the property of fixing colors, as in dyeing.

  1. a substance used in dyeing to fix the coloring matter, especially a metallic compound, as an oxide or hydroxide, that combines with the organic dye and forms an insoluble colored compound or lake in the fiber.

  2. an adhesive substance for binding gold or silver leaf to a surface.

  1. an acid or other corrosive substance used in etching to eat out the lines, areas, etc.

  2. Music. mordent.

verb (used with object)
  1. to impregnate or treat with a mordant.

Origin of mordant

First recorded in 1425–75; late Middle English, from Middle French, present participle of mordre “to bite,” ultimately derived from Latin mordēre; see -ant

Other words for mordant

Other words from mordant

  • mor·dant·ly, adverb
  • un·mor·dant, adjective
  • un·mor·dant·ly, adverb

Words Nearby mordant Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2024

How to use mordant in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for mordant


/ (ˈmɔːdənt) /

  1. sarcastic or caustic

  2. having the properties of a mordant

  1. pungent

  1. a substance used before the application of a dye, possessing the ability to fix colours in textiles, leather, etc: See also lake 2 (def. 1)

  2. an acid or other corrosive fluid used to etch lines on a printing plate

  1. (tr) to treat (a fabric, yarn, etc) with a mordant

Origin of mordant

C15: from Old French: biting, from mordre to bite, from Latin mordēre

Derived forms of mordant

  • mordancy, noun
  • mordantly, adverb

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012