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

This is the fearless satire that America desperately needs right now. J.r. Kinnard, The Seattle Times, "‘Sorry to Bother You’: a fearless satire on race and the ultimate sellout," 2 July 2018 Its main competitors for Best Picture are now the horror-satire Get Out and the teen coming-of-age dramedy Lady Bird, each of which received nominations for their screenplays as well as Best Picture and Director nods. Kyle Smith, National Review, "The Anti-Trump Oscars," 23 Jan. 2018 The contemporary scenes, meanwhile, go for low comedy and topical satire, as Singh (the rare Sikh cop on the Mumbai force) dodges his uniformly corrupt superiors. Mike Hale, New York Times, "Review: The Criminal Life in Mumbai in ‘Sacred Games’," 6 July 2018 While fans may have fallen a little bit out of love with Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt since its 2015 premiere, that doesn’t mean the Netflix comedy has stopped offering up pitch-perfect pop cultural satire three years later. refinery29.com, "Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt," 8 June 2018 Sorry to Bother You (July 6): Lakeith Stanfield stars in Bay Area rap legend and director Boots Riley’s delirious, sui generis magical-realist socio-political satire about an Oakland telemarketer who steps into a nefarious capitalist scheme. Vogue, "A List of Every Single Movie That You Need to Know About Coming Out in Summer 2018," 22 May 2018 TheaterWorks is presenting Robert Askin’s outrageous social satire July 20 through Aug. 26. Christopher Arnott, courant.com, "'Hand To God': Hanging Out With An Unhinged, Satanical Hand Puppet At Theaterworks," 12 July 2018 The Women Adapted from Clare Boothe Luce's play, this glossy 1939 satire about pampered Manhattan wives hasn't lost its bitchy edge. Patrick Friel, Chicago Reader, "Dance / Film / On Video Joan Crawford shines in five Hollywood classics," 26 June 2018 Lightning Rods, an outrageous satire on American capitalism and office life. Adam Kirsch, The Atlantic, "The Anguished Comedy of Helen DeWitt," 25 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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