- 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 for satire on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for satire
And the fact that satire unnerves the intolerant is evidence of its positive power.Why We Stand With Charlie Hebdo—And You Should Too
January 8, 2015
The 289-page satire follows Morris Feldstein, a pharmaceutical salesman who gets seduced by a lonely receptionist.Powerful Congressman Writes About ‘Fleshy Breasts’
January 7, 2015
The premise was simple: satire is devastating against tyrants.The Sony Hack and America’s Craven Capitulation To Terror
December 19, 2014
She called him out for his misogynistic remarks and asked why, if the show was satire like everyone said, Ed had no foils.Canada’s Subversive Sock Puppet: Ed the Sock Isn’t Afraid to Say Anything
November 13, 2014
The film often floats back and forth between these moments of satire and sadness.‘Force Majeure’ and the Swedish Family Vacation From Hell
October 27, 2014
The satire was not very brilliant or ingenious; but its meaning was clear.De Libris: Prose and Verse
He had wit and humour, with an inclination to satire, which he indulged rather too much.Joseph Andrews Vol. 1
By the time it reaches me, he will be in his grave; a satire on his own anger, God help him!'Life And Adventures Of Martin Chuzzlewit
Whether these learned bodies feared the satire of his presence.
What a satire on the whole kit of them that word living, so constantly in all their mouths, is!Wilfrid Cumbermede
- 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 satire
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.