The etymology of the word satire is a full plate, figuratively and literally. In the early 16th century, satire had a meaning closely related to the senses in which it is still used today. It was a term for a literary work holding up human vices and follies to ridicule or scorn, and though no longer necessarily literary, the function of the term remains much the same.
Satire is derived from Latin satira and its earlier form satura, which in classical times meant "a satirical poem." Before the development of this style of poetry, however, the preclassical satura was a poem dealing with a number of different subjects often treated in a number of different manners, even sometimes shifting back and forth between verse and prose.
This sense of "a poetic medley" gives a clue to the early development of the word. According to classical Latin grammarians, satura evolved from the phrase lanx satura, literally "a full plate." Satura is a form of satur, meaning "sated" or "full of food," and the grammarians specify that lanx satura once meant a plate filled with various fruits or a dish made from a mixture of many ingredients. This derivation of satura accords with the "satirical poem" sense of satire and the word's beginnings as a poetic medley full of variety, like a dish of mixed ingredients.