satire

noun
sat·​ire | \ ˈsa-ˌtī(-ə)r \

Definition of satire

1 : a literary work holding up human vices and follies to ridicule or scorn
2 : trenchant wit, irony, or sarcasm used to expose and discredit vice or folly

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Synonyms for satire

Synonyms

lampoon, pasquinade

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Choose the Right Synonym for satire

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

The Culinary Roots of Satire

Satire came into English at the beginning of the 16th century, and the meaning of the word has not strayed very far from its original sense. The initial uses were primarily applied to poems, and the term now has a broader applicability. Satire has a semantic and etymological overlap with both farce and lampoon. Farce ("a light dramatic composition marked by broadly satirical comedy and improbable plot") came into English as a synonym for forcemeat, meaning "finely chopped and highly seasoned meat or fish that is either served alone or used as a stuffing." Lampoon  ("a harsh satire usually directed against an individual") is thought to come from the French lampons!, meaning "let us guzzle!" And satire is believed to trace back to the Latin satur, meaning "well-fed."

Examples of satire in a Sentence

By contrast, Martial's friend, Juvenal, learned to transmute Martial's epigrammatic wit into savage satire. Juvenal's fierce, if occasionally obscene, tirades against immorality fit easily into the propaganda of the new era. — G. W. Bowersock, New York Review of Books, 26 Feb. 2009 Unlike late-night talk shows that traffic in Hollywood interviews and stupid pet tricks, "The Daily Show" is a fearless social satire. Not many comedy shows would dare do five minutes on the intricacies of medicare or a relentlessly cheeky piece on President George W. Bush's Thanksgiving trip to Iraq … — Marc Peyser, Newsweek, 29 Dec. 2003 - 5 Jan. 2004 Saturday Night Live alum Bill Murray stars in this film about Army basic training, and it features Second City TV veterans John Candy and Harold Ramis. Director Ivan Reitman co-produced Animal House. Do not, however, expect a devastating satire on the military; this film is so innocuous that the Defense Department let Reitman use Fort Knox, Ky. to make it. People, 27 July 1981 His movies are known for their use of satire. The movie is a political satire.
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Recent Examples on the Web

Both Gunn and Jeong were attempting various forms of satire. Aja Romano, Vox, "Why the Kevin Hart Oscars backlash is different from other recent public shamings," 5 Jan. 2019 It's often said that satire can be the best way to make a statement, as comedy can disarm an audience into being more receptive to a point being made. Mike Bloom, The Hollywood Reporter, "'GLOW' Stars Wrestle With Inclusion and Satire Through Stereotypes," 5 July 2018 Guillermo Calderón’s backstage social satire will be in New Haven April 27 through May 19. Christopher Arnott, courant.com, "Yale Rep Casts 'Kiss'; Hartford Stage Changes Slogan," 4 Apr. 2018 It’ll be filled with the trademark humor and satire that Lady Parts Justice is known for. Lizz Winstead, Allure, "Why I'm Using Comedy to Fight for Reproductive Rights," 19 Oct. 2018 The series—starring Debby Ryan and Dallas Roberts—is marketed as a satire and centers on Patty (Ryan), a high schooler bullied for her weight who has her jaw wired shut after a man assaults her. Christopher Rosa, Glamour, "120,000 People Have Signed a Petition to Cancel Netflix's Insatiable for 'Fat-Shaming'," 24 July 2018 In one case, the Aurora Public Library took down a display of poetry written as satire against extreme anti-Muslim attitudes in America. Steve Lord, Aurora Beacon-News, "In Aurora, a library display and City Council remark put spotlight on freedom of speech," 21 May 2018 DeVos’ less-than-smooth performance at her confirmation hearing generated satire on television and social media and marked the start of her rocky tenure. Maria Danilova, The Seattle Times, "DeVos’ rocky Senate confirmation hearing turned into theater," 17 Sep. 2018 After all, if any showbiz satire on television could plumb the depths of its main character being held accountable for past misdeeds by a #MeToo-esque movement, it’s BoJack Horseman, which is as haunted by the past as any great ghost story. Todd Vanderwerff, Vox, "BoJack Horseman season 5 is a bold, bracing look at a culture that shirks responsibility," 15 Sep. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'satire.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of satire

1501, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for satire

Middle French or Latin; Middle French, from Latin satura, satira, perhaps from (lanx) satura dish of mixed ingredients, from feminine of satur well-fed; akin to Latin satis enough — more at sad

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More Definitions for satire

satire

noun

English Language Learners Definition of satire

: a way of using humor to show that someone or something is foolish, weak, bad, etc. : humor that shows the weaknesses or bad qualities of a person, government, society, etc.

: a book, movie, etc., that uses satire

satire

noun
sat·​ire | \ ˈsa-ˌtīr \

Kids Definition of satire

1 : humor that is used to make fun of and often show the weaknesses of someone or something
2 : something (as a book or movie) that uses satire

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More from Merriam-Webster on satire

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with satire

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for satire

Spanish Central: Translation of satire

Nglish: Translation of satire for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of satire for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about satire

Comments on satire

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