This question came up as an example in a more general question about Esperanto. The specific question here, though, does warrant an answer.

How do you express the different shades of meaning in different kinds of scoffing and mocking?


As always, it’s best to think about how to express ideas, not how to translate words. What is the idea that needs to be expressed?

A Google search shows the following meanings:

  • mock - tease or laugh at in a scornful or contemptuous manner.
  • scoff - speak to someone or about something in a scornfully derisive or mocking way.

PIV (vortaro.net) lists the following meaning for moki:

mok/i (tr) Malŝate ridindigi: mi lasis min mokiZ; ne estas bone tiel moki maljunan servantonZ; la soldatoj mokis la frenezan princonZ; ne moku mizeron de alia, ĉar baldaŭ venos viaZ; fripona atestanto mokas juĝonX; la mokanto estos mokataZ; (f) ne moku riveron, ne atinginte la teronZ; (abs) suferoj sufokas k homoj mokasZ; vi forĵetis miajn konsilojn, tial mi mokos, kiam timo vin atakosZ. (Vidu ankaŭ:) insulti, kritiki, rikani, sarkasmo, satiro.

So, depending on what you're trying to say, you could say insulti, kritiki, or rikani. The definition in PIV suggests ridindigi. This is one of the suggestions in Benson (CEED). It also suggests priridi.

You could also try checking "scorn" or "deride" in a bilingual dictionary. There's no rule that the idea needs to be expressed in one word: Li bagateligis mian ideon per malafabla balbutado.

  • Going on gut, I would say that 'to mock' is more active and 'to scoff' is more passive or reactionary.
    – abnry
    Aug 31 '20 at 13:37

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