Dictionary.com
definitions
  • synonyms

sardonic

[sahr-don-ik]
See more synonyms for sardonic on Thesaurus.com
adjective
  1. characterized by bitter or scornful derision; mocking; cynical; sneering: a sardonic grin.
Show More

Origin of sardonic

1630–40; alteration of earlier sardonian (influenced by French sardonique) < Latin sardoni(us) (< Greek sardónios of Sardinia) + -an; alluding to a Sardinian plant which when eaten was supposed to produce convulsive laughter ending in death
Related formssar·don·i·cal·ly, adverbsar·don·i·cism, nounun·sar·don·ic, adjectiveun·sar·don·i·cal·ly, adverb

Synonyms

See more synonyms for on Thesaurus.com
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words

twistparadoxwithumorsatirecaricaturemockerysarcasmjeerdisdainderisiontauntscornlaughtercontemptparodytauntingcriticismreparteequip

Examples from the Web for sardonicism

Historical Examples

  • MacMaine laughed, allowing the touch of sardonicism that he felt to be heard in the laughter.

    The Highest Treason

    Randall Garrett


British Dictionary definitions for sardonicism

sardonic

adjective
  1. characterized by irony, mockery, or derision
Show More
Derived Formssardonically, adverbsardonicism, noun

Word Origin

C17: from French sardonique, from Latin sardonius, from Greek sardonios derisive, literally: of Sardinia, alteration of Homeric sardanios scornful (laughter or smile)
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

Word Origin and History for sardonicism

sardonic

adj.

"apparently but not really proceeding from gaiety," 1630s, from French sardonique (16c.), from Latin sardonius (but as if from Latin *sardonicus) in Sardonius risus, loan-translation of Greek sardonios (gelos) "of bitter or scornful (laughter)," altered from Homeric sardanios (of uncertain origin) by influence of Sardonios "Sardinian," because the Greeks believed that eating a certain plant they called sardonion (literally "plant from Sardinia," see Sardinia) caused facial convulsions resembling those of sardonic laughter, usually followed by death. For nuances of usage, see humor. Earlier in same sense sardonian (1580s), from Latin sardonius. Related: Sardonically.

Show More
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper