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Wonderful Words: Sardonic

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After last week’s blog about POLTROONERY, I started thinking about how much fun it is to learn about the origin of words, and how that knowledge can really help you remember the meaning and usage of a word.  I was perusing a book I purchased last year called Grammar Girl’s 101 Words to Sound Smart by Mignon Fogarty, and came across this entry for SARDONIC (a WordMasters word in 1991 and 2009):

Greeks coined the word sardonic from the name of the island Sardinia (now part of Italy), where a plant was said to grow that, if eaten, would force face muscles into a grimacing smile—not a smile of happiness, but a smile of pain—a sardonic smile.  Scientists in Italy recently reported that they believe a Sardinian plant called water celery is the lethal herb the Greeks had in mind.

Sardonic means cutting, cynical, and disdainful and is often used to describe a kind of humor.

Now try to solve this WordMasters Challenge from our analogy archives:

COMMENT : SARDONIC :: __________________________

  1. APPLE : CRISP
  2. STEAK : TOUCH
  3. BREAD : STALE
  4. PEPPER : HOT
  5. COFFEE : BITTER





 

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Expand Your Vocabulary and Sharpen Your Analogy Skills with Twitter

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Follow us on Twitter and play along as we tweet daily analogies.  Analogies will be posted Monday through Friday, increasing in difficulty as the week progresses (like the NY Times Crossword Puzzle!).  The number that appears before the analogy indicates the Challenge level where the analogy was previously used; for example, (4B) means the analogy appeared in a 4th Grade - Blue Division Challenge.

If you are unfamiliar with analogy notation, remember that a single colon (:) means "is to" and a double colon (::) means "as".  So "black : white :: good : evil" reads "black is to white as good is to evil".  Usually, we leave just the last term out, so to solve the analogy you choose the word that makes the most sense.  Sometimes we leave the second part of the analogy out altogether, so you must choose a pair of words that have the same relationship as the first pair.

The correct answer to each day's analogy will be tweeted the following day.  

Teachers, this is a great way to keep your students thinking analytically over the summer and between Challenge meets!  

Good luck and have fun!


 

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