Word of the Day

Thursday, May 08, 2003


\sar-DON-ik\ , adjective;
Scornful, mocking; disdainfully humorous.
Clive gave a sardonic account of a publicly subsidized "concert" in a nearly deserted church hall, in which the legs of a piano were repeatedly struck with the broken neck of a violin for over an hour.
-- Ian McEwan, Amsterdam
Emery was a strange man: highly intelligent, witty in a sardonic way, and a snob, who didn't consider me worth bothering about until I became music director of the Royal Opera in London.
-- Georg Solti, Memoirs
The sardonic historian, whose rule it is to exhibit human nature always as an object of mockery.
-- Isaac Taylor, Natural History of Fanaticism
the favorite drama of the Burattini appears to be a sardonic farce, in which the chief character -- a puppet ten inches high, with a fixed and staring expression of Mephistophelean good-nature and wickedness -- deludes other and weak-minded puppets into trusting him, and then beats them with a club upon the back of the head until they die.
-- William Howells, Venetian Life
Sardonic comes from French sardonique, from Latin sardonius, from Greek sardonios, sardanios, "derisive."
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