satire

noun
sat·​ire | \ ˈsa-ˌtī(-ə)r How to pronounce satire (audio) \

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

Keep scrolling for more

Synonyms for satire

Synonyms

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

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.
See More
Recent Examples on the Web Ding after ding after ding can be heard on his phone and computer after, just hours earlier, the Television Academy announced his superhero satire for Amazon Prime Video received five nominations, including one for Outstanding Drama Series. Nick Romano, EW.com, 13 July 2021 If the butt of that show’s jokes is corporate decadence, then White, who brings a touch more empathy to his satire, has equally profound things to say about the politics of leisure. Judy Berman, Time, 1 July 2021 But Riviere is just getting started with his deadpan satire. Washington Post, 17 May 2021 Instagram account The Chin Dictionary and its playful satire on the quirks of the British upper classes has accumulated more than 24,000 followers. Mark Ellwood, Robb Report, 6 May 2021 Among the many pleasures of Klara and the Sun is the savagery of its satire of the modern meritocracy. Judith Shulevitz, The Atlantic, 2 Mar. 2021 Its satire skewered ignorance and also offered a dash of sweet humanity with its father-daughter story. Los Angeles Times, 22 Feb. 2021 In the past, his pungent satire of Quebec nationalists has spurred outrage and a death threat. Dan Bilefsky, New York Times, 20 Feb. 2021 Over a pot of tea, Hooper related the moment, during the Battle of Britain, when Lewis conceived of his diabolical satire, The Screwtape Letters. Joseph Loconte, National Review, 7 Dec. 2020

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More About satire

Statistics for satire

Last Updated

23 Jul 2021

Cite this Entry

“Satire.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/satire. Accessed 25 Jul. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

Keep scrolling for more

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 How to pronounce satire (audio) \

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

More from Merriam-Webster on satire

Nglish: Translation of satire for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of satire for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about satire

WORD OF THE DAY

Test Your Vocabulary

Dog Words Quiz

  • shiba puppy more or less demanding cuddles
  • Which of the following animals has a dog in its etymology?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
 AlphaBear 2

Spell words. Make bears.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!