Difference Between Facetious and Sarcastic and Sardonic

Facetious vs Sarcastic vs Sardonic

English is a language that contains many words that more or less mean the same thing yet these words exist together. There are examples of these words being used in particular contexts though it seems one can be easily used in place of another. One such grouping of words contains sardonic, sarcastic, and facetious. While we think that their meanings are clear to us, yet we feel difficulty in choosing the right word when speaking or writing. This article takes a closer look at these three words that refer to human emotions and feelings.


Sardonic is an adjective that describes a man who is making a derisive comment about something or someone. If someone shows disdain or is humorous in a skeptical manner, he is said to be acting sardonically. Sardonic is an interesting word though it is used rarely. One can make a sardonic comment, or he can act sardonically. Take a look at the following sentences to understand the usage of the word. Sardonic comes from French sardonique.

• The article takes a sardonic view of the modern lifestyle

• Why is your tone so sardonic?


Sarcastic is an adjective that comes from the noun sarcasm. Sarcasm means a comment or a remark that is derisive, sneering, or taunting. Interestingly, sarcasm comes from the Greek sarkasmos that means to tear flesh as when bites his lip in a fit of rage. So a person is described as sarcastic when he is characterized by sarcasm. If he is being taunting, mocking, sneering, derisive, satirical, biting, acerbic, etc, then he is said to be sarcastic. If you are sarcastic, you will make a remark that ostensibly looks like praise though there is hidden contempt or hatred.


Facetious is an adjective that refers to a person who jokes or makes light remarks that are inappropriate in a given situation. Flippant is the word used for such people who act or behave comic and funny in a grim situation. There can be facetious people as well as facetious remarks. A facetious remark is one that is not meant to be taken seriously. A person is said to be waggish when he is joking in appropriately.

Facetious vs Sarcastic vs Sardonic

• All three, facetious, sarcastic, and sardonic are adjectives applied to people and their remarks.

• Facetious is humorous or jesting inappropriately.

• Sardonic is derisive or full of scorn as if making a mockery of someone.

• Sarcastic is full of sarcasm, full of taunt.

• If you are praising someone that looks like a mockery, you are being sarcastic

• Sardonic is deliberately being acerbic or caustic.

  • Donovan

    You clearly looked up the meaning of sarcastic in the dictionary! (sarcasm).

  • Donovan

    The one word, crucially, that you missed in defining sarcastic was “irony”. If it’s not ironic, it’s not sarcastic.