Synonym Chooser

How does the noun sarcasm differ from other similar words?

Some common synonyms of sarcasm are humor, irony, repartee, satire, and wit. While all these words mean "a mode of expression intended to arouse amusement," sarcasm applies to expression frequently in the form of irony that is intended to cut or wound.

given to heartless sarcasm

When might humor be a better fit than sarcasm?

The words humor and sarcasm are synonyms, but do differ in nuance. Specifically, 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

When can irony be used instead of sarcasm?

While in some cases nearly identical to sarcasm, 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

In what contexts can repartee take the place of sarcasm?

While the synonyms repartee and sarcasm are close in meaning, repartee implies the power of answering quickly, pointedly, or wittily.

a dinner guest noted for repartee

When is satire a more appropriate choice than sarcasm?

In some situations, the words satire and sarcasm are roughly equivalent. However, 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

When would wit be a good substitute for sarcasm?

The meanings of wit and sarcasm largely overlap; however, wit suggests the power to evoke laughter by remarks showing verbal felicity or ingenuity and swift perception especially of the incongruous.

a playful wit


Thesaurus Entries Near sarcasm

Cite this Entry

“Sarcasm.” Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 19 Apr. 2024.

More from Merriam-Webster on sarcasm

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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