sarcasm

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English[edit]

Etymology[edit]

From Late Latin sarcasmus, from Ancient Greek σαρκασμός (sarkasmós, a sneer), from σαρκάζω (sarkázō, I gnash the teeth (in anger), literally I strip off the flesh), from σάρξ (sárx, flesh).

Pronunciation[edit]

  • IPA(key): /ˈsɑːɹˌkæzəm/, /ˈsɑːˌkæzəm/
  • (file)

Noun[edit]

sarcasm (countable and uncountable, plural sarcasms)

  1. (uncountable) Use of acerbic language to mock or convey contempt, often using irony and (in speech) often marked by overemphasis and a sneering tone of voice.
    Sarcasm is the lowest form of wit.
    • 1898, Winston Churchill, chapter 5, in The Celebrity:
      Although the Celebrity was almost impervious to sarcasm, he was now beginning to exhibit visible signs of uneasiness, the consciousness dawning upon him that his eccentricity was not receiving the ovation it merited.
  2. (countable) An act of sarcasm.

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Usage notes[edit]

Because sarcasm and irony often go together, people often use sarcasm to refer to irony. Strictly speaking, an ironic statement is one that means the opposite of its content, and a sarcastic statement is an acerbic or sardonic one. To distinguish the two, saying "Oh my god, I hate you!" to sincerely congratulate one's best friend on their good fortune is ironic, but not sarcastic; saying, "I'm not a mind reader, okay?" is sarcastic, but not ironic.

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