- the use of irony, sarcasm, ridicule, or the like, in exposing, denouncing, or deriding vice, folly, etc.
- a literary composition, in verse or prose, in which human folly and vice are held up to scorn, derision, or ridicule.
- a literary genre comprising such compositions.
Origin of satire
SynonymsSee more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for satires
You lived in the White House from age three to 15, and you were in so many press photos and satires.Dear Malia and Sasha...
November 12, 2008
And this was the occasion of my imitating some others of the Satires and Epistles.Essay on Man
The satires of Aristophanes neither moved nor irritated him.Christianity and Greek Philosophy
Benjamin Franklin Cocker
Horace, in his Satires, speaks of one lending at sixty per cent.Usury
Pope is seen at his best in his satires and epistles, and in the mock-heroic.Obiter Dicta
Lampoons and satires in time will lose their effect, as well as panegyrics.Curiosities of Literature, Vol. 1 (of 3)
- a novel, play, entertainment, etc, in which topical issues, folly, or evil are held up to scorn by means of ridicule and irony
- the genre constituted by such works
- the use of ridicule, irony, etc, to create such an effect
Word Origin and History for satires
late 14c., "work intended to ridicule vice or folly," from Middle French satire (14c.) and directly from Latin satira "satire, poetic medley," earlier satura, in lanx satura "mixed dish, dish filled with various kinds of fruit," literally "full dish," from fem. of satur "sated" (see saturate).
First used in the literary sense in Latin in reference to a collection of poems in various meters on a variety of subjects by the late republican Roman poet Ennius. The matter of the little that survives of his verse does not seem to be particularly satiric, but in classical Latin the word came to mean especially a poem which assailed the prevailing vices, one after another. Altered in Latin by influence of Greek satyr, on mistaken notion that the literary form is related to the Greek satyr drama (see satyr).
Satire, n. An obsolete kind of literary composition in which the vices and follies of the author's enemies were expounded with imperfect tenderness. In this country satire never had more than a sickly and uncertain existence, for the soul of it is wit, wherein we are dolefully deficient, the humor that we mistake for it, like all humor, being tolerant and sympathetic. Moreover, although Americans are 'endowed by their Creator' with abundant vice and folly, it is not generally known that these are reprehensible qualities, wherefore the satirist is popularly regarded as a sour-spirited knave, and his every victim's outcry for codefendants evokes a national assent. [Ambrose Bierce, "Devil's Dictionary," 1911]
Proper satire is distinguished, by the generality of the reflections, from a lampoon which is aimed against a particular person, but they are too frequently confounded. [Johnson]
[I]n whatever department of human expression, wherever there is objective truth there is satire [Wyndham Lewis, "Rude Assignment," 1950]
For nuances of usage, see humor (n.).
1905, from satire (n.). Related: Satired; satiring.
A work of literature that mocks social conventions, another work of art, or anything its author thinks ridiculous. Gulliver's Travels, by Jonathan Swift, is a satire of eighteenth-century British society.