mordant | mordantly

Exam frequency





Civil Services



critical and mocking

Check Icon How to Memorize

mordant - sharp

Check Icon Analysis

The formal word ‘mordant’ is derived from the Latin term meaning ‘to bite or sting’. In modern times it is most commonly used in a figurative way to refer to something that is ‘biting’ by being cruel and disparaging, particularly in a darkly humorous way. In some respects, it can be seen as employing wit as a weapon to attack or make fun of somebody or something.

Synonyms caustic
Antonyms reverential

Check Icon Example(s)

  1. Alice is without guile or tact and her mordant sense of humour often rubs co-workers up the wrong way.

  2. The novel was mordantly funny, with the author taking a darkly satirical view of contemporary life and culture.

  3. I did not appreciate the mordant remarks Frank made about my proposal. His cruelly mocking tone was demeaning and unnecessary.

Related Links