Try Our Apps


Supposedly vs. Supposably


[sahr-don-ik] /sɑrˈdɒn ɪk/
characterized by bitter or scornful derision; mocking; cynical; sneering:
a sardonic grin.
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 forms
sardonically, adverb
sardonicism, noun
unsardonic, adjective
unsardonically, adverb
biting, mordant, contemptuous. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
Cite This Source
Examples from the Web for sardonic
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Now, with her worldly wisdom and her bitter knowledge of love, she found herself regarding the situation with sardonic humour.

    Life and Gabriella Ellen Glasgow
  • Clavering assented, but there was a sardonic gleam in his eyes.

    The Cattle-Baron's Daughter Harold Bindloss
  • "We can't upset the boat," remarked young Pedgift, with sardonic gravity.

    Armadale Wilkie Collins
  • All, save Colonel Forrest, who wore a sardonic smile throughout it all.

    The Loyalist James Francis Barrett
  • The Doctor grinned at her with sardonic enjoyment of her predicament.

    When the Cock Crows Waldron Baily
British Dictionary definitions for sardonic


characterized by irony, mockery, or derision
Derived Forms
sardonically, adverb
sardonicism, 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
Cite This Source
Contemporary definitions for sardonic

scornful, mocking; disdainfully humorous

Word Origin

Greek sardonios 'derisive''s 21st Century Lexicon
Copyright © 2003-2014, LLC
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for sardonic

"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.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Difficulty index for sardonic

Some English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for sardonic

Scrabble Words With Friends

Nearby words for sardonic