MooT Question Icon
Purportedly, an adjective was coined because a plant found on an island caused facial convulsions that resembled scornfully mocking laughter. What was the adjective and what was the island?




Etymology, Etymology, and more Etymology
as well as grammar, usage, euphemism, slang, jargon, semantics, linguistics, neologism, idiom, cant, and argot.


A picture of a moot game

The critically-acclaimed board game MooT
consists of tough questions about the nuances of the English language.
To join our mailing list and get
free brain-twisting MooT questions sent to you irregularly,
enter your email address and then press submit.

E-Mail address:




Back to home page



Answer: sardonic and Sardinia

According to Claiborne, the Greeks called the plant sardonion, plant from Sardinia.

If you ate it, you would make facial convulsions that resembled sardonic (scornfully or cynically mocking) laughter — and then you would die.

Copyright 1998-2009 Blair Arts Ltd. All rights reserved.