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
Examples of sarcasm in a sentence
“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
“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
“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
a voice full of sarcasm
<I know you're not happy, but there's no need to resort to petty sarcasms to make your point.>
Did You Know?
If you've ever been hurt by a remark full of cutting sarcasm, you have some insight into the origins of the word. "Sarcasm" can be traced back to the Greek verb sarkazein, which initially meant "to tear flesh like a dog." "Sarkazein" eventually developed extended senses of "to bite one's lips in rage," "to gnash one's teeth," and eventually "to sneer." "Sarkazein" led to the Greek noun sarkasmos, ("a sneering or hurtful remark"), iterations of which passed through French and Late Latin before arriving in English as "sarcasm" in the mid-16th century. Even today sarcasm is often described as sharp, cutting, or wounding, reminiscent of the original meaning of the Greek verb.
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
SARCASM Defined for Kids
Definition of sarcasm for Students
: 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
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