One of those words with a very cool root. In ancient times there was said to be a plant that grew on Sardinia, which when eaten, would cause convulsive laughter which would later result in death. The laughter and manerisms could only be described as Sardonic.

Sar*don"ic (?), a. [F. sardonique, L. sardonius, Gr. , , perhaps fr. to grin like a dog, or from a certain plant of Sardinia, Gr. , which was said to screw up the face of the eater.]

Forced; unnatural; insincere; hence, derisive, mocking, malignant, or bitterly sarcastic; -- applied only to a laugh, smile, or some facial semblance of gayety.

Where strained, sardonic smiles are glozing still, And grief is forced to laugh against her will. Sir H. Wotton.

The scornful, ferocious, sardonic grin of a bloody ruffian. Burke.

Sardonic grinlaugh, an old medical term for a spasmodic affection of the muscles of the face, giving it an appearance of laughter.

 

© Webster 1913.


Sar*don"ic, a.

Of, pertaining to, or resembling, a kind of linen made at Colchis.

 

© Webster 1913.

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