mordant ˈmȯr-dᵊnt adjective and noun
adjective: harshly ironic or sinister
adjective: of a substance, especially a strong acid, capable of destroying or eating away by chemical action
noun: a substance used to treat leather or other materials before dyeing; aids in dyeing process
The word mordant has appeared in 55 articles on NYTimes.com in the past year, including on Sept. 26 in “For Gavin Newsom, a Stealth Run for California Governor” by Adam Nagourney and Tim Arango:
Mr. Newsom said the outgoing governor had left the state “in better shape than probably any governor in modern times.” But he said that Mr. Brown had given him a somewhat mordant warning as they discussed what was around the corner.
“‘Good luck,’” he quoted Mr. Brown as saying. “’Cause he sees the headwinds, he sees the fixed costs, he sees the hockey stick of health care and pensions. He sees all this building pressure, he knows what the Legislature is revving up to do and all these interest groups that are a deeper part of that appetite than the Legislature. They are all expecting the next governor to solve their problems.”