Reference > Brewer’s Dictionary > Sardon’ic Smile, Grin, or Laughter.

 Sardin’ian Laugh.Sar’donyx. 
E. Cobham Brewer 1810–1897. Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. 1898.
Sardon’ic Smile, Grin, or Laughter.
A smile of contempt: so used by Homer.   1
        “The Sardonic or Sardinian laugh. A laugh caused, it was supposed, by a plant growing in Sardinia, of which they who ate died laughing.”—Trench: Words, lecture iv. p. 176.
   The Herba Sardon’ia (so called from Sardis, in Asia Minor) is so acrid that it produces a convulsive movement of the nerves of the face, resembling a painful grin. Byron says of the Corsair, There was a laughing devil in his sneer.   2
“’Tis envy’s safest surest rule
To hide her rage in ridicule;
The vulgar eye the best beguiles
When all her snakes are decked with smiles.
Sardonic smiles by rancour raised.”
Swift: Pheasant and Lark.

 Sardin’ian Laugh.Sar’donyx. 


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