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

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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

The movie is Dear White People director Justin Simien’s Bad Hair, a horror satire about a black woman and her weave, which Cox hesitates to describe at length because the film has only been announced recently. Meredith Talusan, SELF, "Trans Is Beautiful: Laverne Cox on the Work of Self-Love," 17 Oct. 2018 Murphy recalled that his first TV show Popular, a satire of cheerleaders on the WB, was not met with the same joy as his later work. Steff Yotka, Vogue, "Notes on Camp: Andrew Bolton and Ryan Murphy Talk Queerness, Culture, and Kindness," 11 Oct. 2018 Firsts are still being made 70 years after the Emmys began, and that turned the show’s opening number into the kind of satire that stung. Ella Cerón, Teen Vogue, "The 2018 Emmys Had a Diversity Problem Because Hollywood Still Isn't Inclusive," 18 Sep. 2018 But even at its slowest, Disenchantment avoids trying to cash in on cheap, topical jokes or series-specific satire. Sam Machkovech, Ars Technica, "Disenchantment review: Groening’s new Netflix toon is off to a bloody good start," 7 Aug. 2018 The Onion portfolio also includes pop culture site A.V. Club, satire site ClickHole and Onion Labs, an in-house advertising agency. Robert Channick, chicagotribune.com, "Univision looks to sell The Onion, Gizmodo websites," 11 July 2018 Two years ago, she co-created Lifetime’s dark reality TV satire UnREAL, and later this summer, HBO will air her adaptation of the 2006 Gillian Flynn novel Sharp Objects. Emma Dibdin, Harper's BAZAAR, "Marti Noxon on the Eerie Timeliness of Dietland: "Unless We Find Our Voice, Nothing's Going to Change"," 19 June 2018 In its darker moments, the Trump presidency resembles a heavy-handed, Bush-era satire of how fascism would come to America. Eric Levitz, Daily Intelligencer, "Trump’s 5 Weirdest Remarks About His Summit With North Korea," 12 June 2018 The characters created by Gary Burbank at WAKY propelled him to become one of radio's pre-eminent humorists at Cincinnati's WLW and his Earl Pitts editorial satires are still heard on 200 stations. Jeffrey Lee Puckett, The Courier-Journal, "60 years ago, WAKY put the crazy in Louisville's rock 'n' roll radio," 7 June 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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Comments on satire

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