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sardonic

If someone is being scornful and mocking in a humorous way, call her sardonic. If you want to write comic sketches for late-night talk shows, work on being sardonic.

Sardonic comes from the Greek adjective Sardonios, which actually describes a plant from a place called Sardinia that supposedly made your face contort into a horrible grin...right before you died from its poison. The Greeks used sardonic for laughter, but we only use it when someone's humor is also mocking or ironic.

Definitions of sardonic
  1. adjective
    disdainfully or ironically humorous; scornful and mocking
    “"his rebellion is the bitter, sardonic laughter of all great satirists"- Frank Schoenberner”
    Synonyms:
    sarcastic
    expressing or expressive of ridicule that wounds
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