When you're being sardonic, or if you have a sardonic laugh or smile, you're making fun of someone or something in a mean, bitter way.
sar DON ick
Part of speech:
(Adjectives are describing words, like “large” or “late.”
They can be used in two ways:
1. Right before a noun, as in “a sardonic comment.”
2. After a linking verb, as in "The comment was sardonic.”)
The adverb is "sardonically."
The noun is "sardonicism," but not all dictionaries list it.
How to use it:
Talk about a sardonic smile, sardonic laughter, or sardonic wit or humor. There are sardonic comments, remarks, jokes, quips, and barbs. You can talk about a sardonic person, a sardonic personality, or someone's sardonic manners. Someone might give you a sardonic shake of the head or sardonically lift one eyebrow at you. Or you could have a sardonic emotion, like sardonic resignation or sardonic glee.
In The Devil's Dictionary, Ambrose Bierce offers deliciously sardonic definitions like these: "Lawyer: One skilled in circumvention of the law."
Maybe I'm getting old and cranky, but there's way too much sardonic humor on television these days.
Look away from the screen to explain the definition in your own words. You’ll know you understand what "sardonic" means when you can explain it without saying "biting" or "deriding."
Think of someone you know who tends to say funny but mean things, and fill in the blanks: "(Person) once made the sardonic remark that _____."
Example: "He once made the sardonic remark that our friend would do better if she had a chin."
Spend at least 20 seconds occupying your mind with the game and quote below. Then try the review questions. Don’t go straight to the review now—let your working memory empty out first.
Playing With Words:
This month, we're playing with song lyrics that include words featured in issues of Make Your Point. I’ll give you a few lines from the song, with a blank where our word appears, along with its definition. See if you can come up with it! You can follow the link to see the right answer right away, or just wait until the following day’s issue. Have fun!
Yesterday's lyrics: Artist: The Rembrandts Title: Don't Hide Your Love Lyrics: Same old song in a brand new dress
I grow so bored, I _____
Tell me what can I do, to bring you back to me, back to me Definition: to give in and just along with what someone else wants you to do
Try this one today:
Artist: Elvis Costello Title: When It Sings Lyrics: All the words you say to me
Have music in them
All the sorrows and the joys like _____
And a selfish boy looks through a prism
And says what is
But never asks what isn't Definition: charm and attraction that powerfully draws people in
John Dryden: “Ill habits gather by unseen degrees,—As brooks make rivers, rivers run to seas.”
1. The opposite of SARDONIC is
2. _____ is no place for sardonic _____.
A. The elementary classroom .. teasing
B. The night club stage .. quips
C. The dinner table .. observations
Answers are below.
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Disclaimer: Word meanings presented here are expressed in plain language and are limited to common, useful applications only. Readers interested in authoritative and multiple definitions of words are encouraged to check a dictionary. Likewise, word meanings, usage, and pronunciations are limited to American English; these elements may vary across world Englishes.
"Sardonic" sounds like "sarcastic," and the meanings are fairly similar, too. But it's important to note that these days, you can be "sarcastic" with a light and funny touch, but anything "sardonic" is really very bitter and cutting.
Close in meaning to both of those words is "a___ic," meaning "sour, sharp, bitter, and harsh." Could you recall this word?
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