Word of the Day

Monday, June 07, 1999


\MOR-d'nt\ , adjective;
Biting; caustic; sarcastic.
Mr. Justice Moorcroft's forte, a part which he had played for so many years that it had become instinctive, was a courteous reasonableness occasionally enlivened with shafts of mordant wit.
-- P. D. James, A Certain Justice
I moved from one knot of people to another, surrounded by a kind of envious respect because of Sophie's interest in me, although subjected to a certain mordant raillery from some of this witty company.
-- Peter Brooks, World Elsewhere
He had a mordant wit as well . . . , a bit wicked and waspish even.
-- Janice A. Radway, A Feeling for Books
Mordant comes from the present participle of Old French mordre, "to bite," from Latin mordere. It is related to morsel, "a little bite"; and remorse, from Latin remordere, "to bite back or again; to torment."
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