When you talk to or about someone in a mocking tone, you're making fun of them in a nasty, mean way.

But if you're a comedy writer or political satirist, a mocking attitude is a tool of your trade. If you're writing a skit about the outrageous proposal some politician has just made, you'll write it in a mocking tone, imitating the politician's voice and mannerisms in a way that makes him look as ridiculous as you think he is. Seen any mockingbirds lately? That's the bird that sings almost nonstop, imitating the calls of other birds.

Definitions of mocking

adj abusing vocally; expressing contempt or ridicule

“her mocking smile”
derisive, gibelike, jeering, taunting
exhibiting lack of respect; rude and discourteous

adj playfully vexing (especially by ridicule)

quizzical, teasing
full of fun and high spirits

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