posted in history
from word origin posted in history by prof_improbable
Webster's dictionary defines the word sardonic as "disdainfully or skeptically humorous : derisively mocking."
The word originates from the ancient peoples of the island of Sardinia off the Italian coast (from Wikipedia):
In 2009, scientists at the University of Eastern Piedmont in Italy claimed to have identified hemlock water dropwort (Oenanthe crocata) as the plant responsible for producing the sardonic grin.
This plant is the candidate for the "sardonic herb," which was a neurotoxic plant used for the ritual killing of elderly people in pre-Roman Sardinia. When these people were unable to support themselves, they were intoxicated with this herb and then dropped from a high rock or beaten to death.
That is so totally metal.