Quantcast
Merriam-Webster Logo
  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
  • Medical
  • Scrabble
  • Spanish Central
  • Learner's Dictionary

sarcasm

play
noun sar·casm \ˈsär-ˌka-zəm\

Simple Definition of sarcasm

  • : the use of words that mean the opposite of what you really want to say especially in order to insult someone, to show irritation, or to be funny

Full Definition of sarcasm

  1. 1 :  a sharp and often satirical or ironic utterance designed to cut or give pain

  2. 2a :  a mode of satirical wit depending for its effect on bitter, caustic, and often ironic language that is usually directed against an individualb :  the use or language of sarcasm

Examples of sarcasm

  1. “That was my favorite show yet this tour,” Banks says. “I love audiences that are ambivalent.” For a second, I think he's laying on the sarcasm, until he continues. “I really like the chance to win people over.” —David Peisner, Spin, August 2007

  2. “The best part of being single,” Bryce Donovan jokes, “is being able to choose any woman I want to shoot me down.” Such self-deprecating sarcasm is the trademark of this newsman's four-year-old weekly column “It Beats Working” in the Charleston Post and Courier. —People, 26 June 2006

  3. “But see,” I say … “in my line of work I'm supposed to dress in a way that makes clients feel sorry for me, or better yet superior to me. I think I accomplish that pretty well.” Paul looks over at me again with a distasteful look that might be ready to slide into sarcasm, only he doesn't know if I'm making fun of him. He says nothing. —Richard Ford, Independence Day, (1995) 1996

  4. a voice full of sarcasm

  5. <I know you're not happy, but there's no need to resort to petty sarcasms to make your point.>



Origin of sarcasm

French or Late Latin; French sarcasme, from Late Latin sarcasmos, from Greek sarkasmos, from sarkazein to tear flesh, bite the lips in rage, sneer, from sark-, sarx flesh; probably akin to Avestan thwarəs- to cut


First Known Use: 1550

Synonym Discussion of sarcasm

wit, humor, irony, sarcasm, satire, repartee mean a mode of expression intended to arouse amusement. wit suggests the power to evoke laughter by remarks showing verbal felicity or ingenuity and swift perception especially of the incongruous <a playful wit>. humor implies an ability to perceive the ludicrous, the comical, and the absurd in human life and to express these usually without bitterness <a sense of humor>. irony applies to a manner of expression in which the intended meaning is the opposite of what is seemingly expressed <the irony of the title>. sarcasm applies to expression frequently in the form of irony that is intended to cut or wound <given to heartless sarcasm>. satire applies to writing that exposes or ridicules conduct, doctrines, or institutions either by direct criticism or more often through irony, parody, or caricature <a satire on the Congress>. repartee implies the power of answering quickly, pointedly, or wittily <a dinner guest noted for repartee>.

Rhymes with sarcasm


SARCASM Defined for Kids

sarcasm

play
noun sar·casm \ˈsär-ˌka-zəm\

Definition of sarcasm

  1. :  the use of words that normally mean one thing to mean just the opposite usually to hurt someone's feelings or show scorn





Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up sarcasm? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

February 13, 2016

a trying or distressing experience

Get Word of the Day daily email!

WORD GAMES

Take a 3-minute break and test your skills!

image33683556

How much does a batman (the Turkish unit of measurement) weigh?

2.2 pounds 196.5 pounds 16.96 pounds 100 pounds
Name That Thing

10 quick questions: hear them, spell them, and see how your skills compare to the crowd.

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ