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mordant
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mordant
as in:  mordant satire


Nor did I write letters or indite in my notebook any of those gnomic lines—ranging from the mordant to the apocalyptic and aping in style the worst of both Cyril Connolly and Andre Gideby which I strove to maintain a subsidiary career as diarist.
William Styron  --  Sophie’s Choice
  harsh or critical
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mordant mordantly mordants
Notes:
Often used to describe a type of humor.
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Samples:
  • Nor did I write letters or indite in my notebook any of those gnomic lines—ranging from the mordant to the apocalyptic and aping in style the worst of both Cyril Connolly and Andre Gideby which I strove to maintain a subsidiary career as diarist.
    William Styron  --  Sophie’s Choice
  • Moord: mortality, mordant, morbid, murder.
    Donna Tartt  --  The Goldfinch
  • He had a sense of humor, she knew; there was a streak of mordant wit in him that was sometimes not unlike face’s.
    Cassandra Clare  --  City of Lost Souls
  • The ocean looked dead too, dead gray waves hissing mordantly along the beach, which was gray and dead-looking itself.
    John Knowles  --  A Separate Peace

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  • The clinging, overpowering conviction of death spread steadily with the continuing rainfall, soaking mordantly into each man’s ailing countenance like the corrosive blot of some crawling disease.
    Joseph Heller  --  Catch-22
  • "I quite agree," said Miss Lavish, who had several times tried to interrupt his mordant wit.
    E.M. Forster  --  A Room With A View
  • They didn’t harass tourists, not unless they looked in a suitcase and found a copy of Graham Greene’s mordant, anti-Duvalierist novel of Haiti, The Comedians.
    Tracy Kidder  --  Mountains Beyond Mountains
  • He thinks, with a certain mordant irony, that she may also be the only one who would satisfy all of his mother’s oft-hinted requirements, or almost all: Grace is not, for instance, rich.
    Margaret Atwood  --  Alias Grace
  • Francoise must often, from the next room, have heard these mordant sarcasms levelled at herself, the mere framing of which in words would not have relieved my aunt’s feelings sufficiently, had they been allowed to remain in a purely immaterial form, without the degree of substance and reality which she added to them by murmuring them half-aloud.
    Marcel Proust  --  Swann’s Way
  • The girl watched him warily, but Stonesnake gave a mordant chuckle.
    George R.R. Martin  --  A Clash of Kings

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  • There was a mordant edge to Rambert’s voice.
    Albert Camus  --  The Plague
  • He was smart and well educated, and he had a mordant wit that she appreciated, especially given her current predicament.
    Christopher Paolini  --  Inheritance
  • The dwarf had been whetting the edge of his axe and making some mordant jest when Bronn spotted the banner the riders carried before them, the moon-and-falcon of House Arryn, sky-blue and white.
    George R.R. Martin  --  A Game of Thrones
  • The dramatic reason for making the clergyman what Mrs Warren calls "an old stick-in-the-mud," whose son, in spite of much capacity and charm, is a cynically worthless member of society, is to set up a mordant contrast between him and the woman of infamous profession, with her well brought-up, straightforward, hardworking daughter.
    George Bernard Shaw  --  Mrs. Warren’s Profession
  • Tell the lieutenants what has happened, and tell Mr. Mordant," meaning the Captain of Marines, "and charge them to keep the matter to themselves."
    Herman Melville  --  Billy Budd
  • When asked what he thought those had been, Farmer adapted a mordant line from Graham Greene’s The Comedians.
    Tracy Kidder  --  Mountains Beyond Mountains
  • fun ranging from slapstick clowning ... to savage mordant wit
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Associated words [difficulty]:   mordant [8] , wry [1] , droll [3] , sardonic [3] , jocular [4] , whimsical [4] , facetious [5]
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Most commonly used in these subjects:   Fine Arts & Music, Medicine, Science
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