Word of the Day : March 27, 2017

sarcasm

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noun SAHR-kaz-um

Definition

1 : a sharp and often satirical or ironic utterance designed to cut or give pain

2 a : a mode of satirical wit depending for its effect on bitter, caustic, and often ironic language that is usually directed against an individual

b : the use or language of sarcasm

Examples

"I'm seeing more and more of my friends coming to watch the races instead of being a part of them. And then, some of the girls that are racing against me are literally half my age. It's awesome. Don't know if you can hear my sarcasm—really awesome." — Lindsey Vonn, The Associated Press, 3 Nov. 2015

"Often, users on social media tend to portray complicated social and political issues as simple and obvious, at times employing sarcasm or satire to disparage those who disagree." — James Lee, The Daily Pennsylvanian (University of Pennsylvania), 12 Feb. 2017



Did You Know?

If you've ever been hurt by a remark full of cutting sarcasm, you have some insight into the origins of the word. Sarcasm can be traced back to the Greek verb sarkazein, which initially meant "to tear flesh like a dog." Sarkazein eventually developed extended senses of "to bite one's lips in rage," "to gnash one's teeth," and "to sneer." The verb led to the Greek noun sarkasmos, ("a sneering or hurtful remark"), iterations of which passed through French and Late Latin before arriving in English as sarcasm in the 17th century. Even today sarcasm is often described as sharp, cutting, or wounding, reminiscent of the original meaning of the Greek verb.



Test Your Vocabulary

Fill in the blanks to complete an adjective that can mean "sarcastic in tone or manner": s _ ar _ _.

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