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sardonic

[sahr-don-ik] /sɑrˈdɒn ɪk/
adjective
1.
characterized by bitter or scornful derision; mocking; cynical; sneering:
a sardonic grin.
Origin
1630-1640
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
Synonyms
biting, mordant, contemptuous.
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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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British Dictionary definitions for sardonicism

sardonic

/sɑːˈdɒnɪk/
adjective
1.
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
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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.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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