Definition of mordant in English:

mordant

Line breaks: mor|dant
Pronunciation: /ˈmɔːd(ə)nt
 
/

adjective

(Especially of humour) having or showing a sharp or critical quality; biting: a mordant sense of humour
More example sentences
  • His songs are frequently grim, a catalogue of human misery shot through with mordant humour and flashes of spiritual or psychological calm.
  • There is an amount of mordant humour surrounding the shocking murders.
  • Still, the film is worth watching for its mordant humour and brutally honest view of addiction.
Synonyms

noun

Back to top  
1A substance, typically an inorganic oxide, that combines with a dye or stain and thereby fixes it in a material.
More example sentences
  • In order to get the color to stick well on the fiber, the wool was usually pretreated with a metal compound called a mordant; common mordants, still used in craft dying, are compounds of aluminum, iron, copper, tin, and chromium.
  • The application by hand of various mordants was part of a complex process of dyeing, applying and clearing resists, washing, and bleaching.
  • Wearden's text gives good, clear explanations and descriptions of the various weaving techniques, not just pile but also flat woven, and discusses dyes, mordants and related matters.
1.1An adhesive compound for fixing gold leaf.
More example sentences
  • Gold leaf is too delicate to be laid directly on the relatively rough surface of plaster and so the gold leaf is backed with thicker and more robust tin foil using an oil mordant as the adhesive.
  • At the appropriate moment, while the mordant was still tacky, scraps of gold leaf were laid over the area of decoration, the gold adhering to the lines of mordant but not to the dry paint beneath.
2A corrosive liquid used to etch the lines on a printing plate.
More example sentences
  • Oil mordants from early in the century tend to produce distinctly raised lines.

verb

[with object] Back to top  
Impregnate or treat (a fabric) with a mordant: mordanting a fibre is simple (as adjective mordanted) mordanted wool
More example sentences
  • The yarn would usually be mordanted with oxalic acid from wood sorrel, iron, or even an alkaline solution made from stale urine.
  • The first dye is crystal violet, which is fixed or mordanted in Gram positive bacteria by iodine.

Origin

late 15th century: from French, present participle of mordre 'to bite', from Latin mordere.

Derivatives

mordancy

noun
More example sentences
  • He is an extraordinarily genial observer; the mordancy of his observations is therefore particularly striking.
  • The book is funny, but with a mordancy which is hardly surprising when you consider the subject.
  • The guiding musical spirit and godfather to the whole project is the conductor, who brings out all the mordancy and instrumental color suggested by the notes.

mordantly

adverb
More example sentences
  • In her 80s and as mordantly witty as ever, she published her 22nd novel, The Finishing School, earlier this year.
  • When the songs are at their wittiest, they are sharply and mordantly so.
  • ‘Sure, Eileen, whatever you want,’ I said mordantly.

Definition of mordant in:

Get more from Oxford Dictionaries

Subscribe to remove ads and access premium resources

Word of the day dinkum
Pronunciation: ˈdiNGkəm
adjective
(of an article or person) genuine