Trending: sarcasm,’ ‘sarcastic

Lookups spiked 900% on April 24, 2020

Why are people looking up the words sarcasm and sarcastic?

Sarcasm and sarcastic were among our top lookups on April 24th, 2020, after President Trump claimed that his comments the previous day fell into this rhetorical category.

Donald Trump on Friday attempted to clean up remark he made the previous night about possibly injecting disinfectants into Americans' bodies to kill the coronavirus by saying he was merely being "sarcastic," a claim undermined by video of the comment.
— John T. Bennett, The Independent (London, Eng.), 24 Apr. 2020

What do the words sarcasm and sarcastic mean?

We define sarcasm as “a sharp and often satirical or ironic utterance designed to cut or give pain,” and “a mode of satirical wit depending for its effect on bitter, caustic, and often ironic language that is usually directed against an individual.” President Trump appears to have a somewhat broader semantic interpretation of this word than we do, as he has previously employed it to retract statements (the last time this word spiked was when Trump said that his comments alleging President Obama had founded ISIS were sarcasm).

Where do the words sarcasm and sarcastic come from?

Sarcasm and sarcastic may be traced to the Greek word sarkazein, which may be defined as “to tear flesh like dogs,” “bite the lips in rage,” or “speak bitterly, sneer.” Of the two, sarcasm is the older word, with use dating back to 1550.

Trend Watch is a data-driven report on words people are looking up at much higher search rates than normal. While most trends can be traced back to the news or popular culture, our focus is on the lookup data rather than the events themselves.

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