Is there a word (probably a verb to describe the action) for the below situation:

When someone throws a sarcastic remark to you, especially in front of other people, not in a playful manner but rather an offensive one, meaning to dampen you.

It could be more of a slang term, an "urbandictionary-word", than a conventional English word.

  • 2
    "belittle" e.g. He jumps on every opportunity to belittle me.
    – Pavitar
    Commented Oct 30, 2013 at 9:55

7 Answers 7


There will be a lot of such words and expressions (so I hope you'll resist the urge to select an answer prematurely). The one I'll propose is cut down. Here are a couple sample usages:

I didn't appreciate the way he cut me down during the meeting.
Maybe he cut down Susan during the meeting, but I don't think he did himself any favors.

The phrase is a shortened form of cut someone down to size, meaning "to put someone in their place."

It should be noted that the phrase cut down has several meanings, so you'll want to provide ample context to make it clear what you are talking about.

If you wanted to use a noun rather than a verb, you could try slap in the face. It is slang for "an insult."

Bob's remarks were a real slap in the face.

By the way, the word real in that example sentence means "serious," not "actual" (i.e., Definition #5, not Definition #1a, in this dictionary). Contrary to how it might be interpreted, that sentence doesn't mean that Bob was literally slapped in the face.

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    If the O.P. does want an Urban Dictionary-style term that is very slangy (though apparently used in some major-newspaper op-eds), I'd suggest dis, which is used with almost exactly the same meaning as cut down. Commented Oct 30, 2013 at 10:13
  • The "slap in the face" sounds a lot like bitchslap, i always wonder if bitchslap has another meaning rather than a physically slap urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=bitchslap
    – user49119
    Commented Oct 30, 2013 at 12:25
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    @user49119 It has no other widely-recognized meaning, and the term is considered rather offensive in itself. Commented Oct 30, 2013 at 14:33
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    The two are worlds apart. Slap in the face is almost always metaphorical, and is considered an acceptible way to convey a sharp insult, while bitchslap would be considered vulgar, offensive, and coarse. Furthermore, bitchslap would refer more to abusive behavior than a barbed insult. I'd have no problem using slap in the face even when talking to my company president, but I'd never use bitchslap in that setting. However, you have made my day with your comment. If you really did wonder if the two expressions were similar, then I'm confident ELL will someday graduate from beta. :^)
    – J.R.
    Commented Oct 30, 2013 at 14:46
  • Personally, I would say real here is an intensifier (sense 12 in Collins). Words with meaning similar to real tend to become intensifiers; others include very, really, truly, honestly, and literally.
    – user230
    Commented Nov 26, 2013 at 4:01

I think the closest you will get is with "sardonic".


Someone with a "biting" personality or who is prone to making "biting" remarks is making the kind of offensive, rude, and deragatory insults of which you speak. This can be true both in sarcastic and straight-forward situations, although typically biting satire is sarcastic.


The verb snark may be appropriate. It means “To express oneself in a snarky fashion”, where snarky means “Snide and sarcastic; usually out of irritation, often humorously”. Example: “He snarked at her all through the meeting.”

Also consider verb backbite, “To make spiteful slanderous or defamatory statements about someone” or “To attack from behind or when out of earshot with spiteful or defamatory remarks”.

The phrase “do him down” or “do her down” means to denigrate someone by making critical remarks intended to damage the person's standing or reputation.

  • Snark was the first thing that came to mind. I had to ask myself if that was colloquial or not, but in common speech, snark/snarky would be most common. Commented Nov 28, 2013 at 23:10

The way I would express this is:

He's always putting me down.

This is similar to "cut (someone) down" and is an informal way to describe someone belittling you. If it's more important to indicate a snarky comment that you didn't appreciate, you might instead say:

He made a joke at my expense.

To my knowledge, there is not a term that is specific to overly hurtful sarcasm, but if you trust context and tone to carry your meaning, you could also say:

He's always messing with me.


You may use the verbs 'calumniate','besmirch', 'asperse' or 'slander'.

She slandered/calumniated/aspersed/besmirched me in front of everyone that day
  • Slander has a specific legal meaning in some countries, so it may not be appropriate. Besmirch is possible, but it's not terribly common and sounds rather formal. (Usually someone's reputation or someone's name is besmirched, rather than the person themselves.) Caluminate and asperse are very rare and may not be understood.
    – user230
    Commented Nov 26, 2013 at 3:37
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    Slander is not applicable; aside from being a legal term, it implies making disparaging or untrue statements to damage someone's credibility or reputation. I think that the question is more referring to intentionally hurting someone's feelings. To be honest, while I'm familiar with calumniate and asperse, I've never heard a native speaker use them before. Only the most educated of speakers would understand what those words mean. And besmirched is more common, but it's slightly archaic/awkward. Commented Nov 28, 2013 at 23:08
  • "...not in a playful manner but rather an offensive one.." is what OP asks. I gave several options since the question isn't clear (telling us a specific sentence). Slander in this context is fine I think.
    – Maulik V
    Commented Dec 4, 2013 at 4:37

Surely the best way would be: "S/he was very sarcastic about me".

In [Lowland] Scottish, it is often abbreviated to "sarky", e.g. "S/he was very sarky to me".

The Chambers Thesaurus entry for sarcastic (link) is adj
ironical, satirical, mocking, snide, taunting, sneering, derisive, derisory, scornful, sardonic, jeering, scoffing, scathing, cynical, incisive, cutting, biting, caustic formal disparaging, acrimonious, acerbic, mordant colloq. sarky

You can take your pick from there, pretty much.

S/he mocked me,
s/he taunted me,
s/he sneered at me,
s/he derided me,
s/he jeered at me,
s/he made a scathing comment about me,
s/he made a really cutting (or biting) remark about me,
s/he made a really caustic comment about me

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