WordMasters Blog

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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