A sardonic smile.
A sardonic sense of humor.
An example of sardonic is a comedian’s sneering jokes about a specific group of people that he wants to criticize.
Origin of sardonic
- French sardonique from Greek sardonios alteration of sardanios perhaps akin to sesērenai to show the teeth, grin mockingly
From American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition
- French sardonique, from Latin sardonius, from Ancient Greek σαρδόνιος (sardonios), alternative form of σαρδάνιος (sardanios, “bitter or scornful laughter"), which is often cited as deriving from the Sardinian plant (Ranunculus sardous), known as either σαρδάνη (sardanÄ“) or σαρδόνιον (sardonion). When eaten, it would cause the eater's face to contort in a look resembling scorn (generally followed by death). It might also be related to σαίρω (sairō, “I grin").