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

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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

Taika Waititi is skewering Nazi allegiance in the new full-length trailer for his upcoming satire Jojo Rabbit. Joey Nolfi, EW.com, "Taika Waititi lampoons Nazi allegiance in new Jojo Rabbit trailer," 3 Sep. 2019 Criticized for its apparent lack of common sense, Snopes has gone so far as to commission opinion surveys about paraphrased Babylon Bee stories to prove that people are mistaking its satire for real news. Michael Brendan Dougherty, National Review, "Ben Penn’s Bad-Faith Hit Job on Leif Olson," 3 Sep. 2019 The first is the handling of the stereotyped characters (Welfare Queen, Fortune Cookie, Beirut the Mad Bomber, and so on), which ranges from smart to tedious to overly pleased with its own satire. Sarah Larson, The New Yorker, "In Season 3, “GLOW” Raises the Stakes," 30 Aug. 2019 The restaurant’s signature artwork by Maria Qamar, a Pakistani Canadian artist known for her pop culture satire regarding the experiences of young desi women, will remain in place. Justin Phillips, SFChronicle.com, "Heena Patel relaunches Besharam, now with full control," 17 July 2019 But while the movie is super-topical and even takes on a #MeToo-type scandal, its razor-sharp satire doesn't go full throttle in taking the toxic culture to task and leans more predictable than biting in the end. Brian Truitt, USA TODAY, "Review: Emma Thompson rules as the acerbic, awesome queen of Mindy Kaling's 'Late Night'," 31 May 2019 Her characters could be more fully defined, but her satire is sharp and funny. Moira Hodgson, WSJ, "‘Little Culinary Triumphs’ and ‘Something Great and Beautiful’ Review: Staff of Life, Stuff of Farce," 14 Dec. 2018 The darker aspects of the comic were abandoned for the more kid-friendly animated series, although Edlund kept the satire, absurdist/surreal scenarios, and cheeky irreverence. Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica, "Ars celebrates 25 years of The Tick by picking our top ten favorite episodes," 10 Sep. 2019 Through a certain lens, some viewers will undoubtedly see what Watiti is doing here as a kind of smug, misguided Wes Anderson-ization of a subject that has no statute of limitations for satire. Leah Greenblatt, EW.com, "Taika Waititi pulls off the near-impossible in Hitler fantasia Jojo Rabbit," 9 Sep. 2019

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 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

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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

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