sar·cas·tic (sär-kstk) KEY
sarc(asm) + -astic as in enthusiastic
sarcastic, ironic, caustic, satirical, sardonic
These adjectives mean having or marked by a feeling of bitterness and a biting or cutting quality. Sarcastic suggests sharp taunting and ridicule that wounds: "a deserved reputation for sarcastic, acerbic and uninhibited polemics" (Burke Marshall). Ironic implies a subtler form of mockery in which an intended meaning is conveyed obliquely: "a man of eccentric charm, ironic humor, andabove allprofound literary genius" (Jonathan Kirsch). Caustic means corrosive and bitingly trenchant: "The caustic jokes ... deal with such diverse matters as political assassination, talk-show hosts, medical ethics" (Frank Rich). Satirical implies exposure, especially of vice or folly, to ridicule: "on the surface a satirical look at commercial radio, but also a study of the misuse of telecommunications" (Richard Harrington). Sardonic is associated with scorn, derision, mockery, and often cynicism: "He was proud, sardonic, harsh to inferiority of every description" (Charlotte Brontë).