Sarcasm... What comes to mind?


How do you feel when I say the word sarcasm? How come? It brings a smile to my face and I'm not sure why. Sarcasm is a bad thing! Or is it? These are all questions I've been asking myself. To start off with, here's the definition of sarcasm:

1. harsh or bitter derision or irony.
2. a sharply ironical taunt; sneering or cutting remark: a review full of sarcasms.

And here's the Wikipedia definition:

Sarcasm is "a sharp, bitter, or cutting expression or remark; a bitter gibe or taunt." Sarcasm may employ ambivalence, although sarcasm is not necessarily ironic. "The distinctive quality of sarcasm is present in the spoken word and manifested chiefly by vocal inflections". The sarcastic content of a statement will be dependent upon the context in which it appears.

Well that's confusing! Here. Let me sum up what all that means.

Sarcasm is a bitter, ironic or cutting remark or comment, designed to hurt the person it's directed towards.

Wait, what?! Sure, lots of people use sarcasm in a mean way, but can't it be used in a funny way too? I, personally, joke around using sarcasm with my friends a lot. I'm not trying to be mean to them or bring them down! 

Here's the Greek word sarcasm is derived from:

The word comes from the Greek σαρκασμός (sarkasmos) which is taken from σαρκάζειν meaning "to tear flesh, bite the lip in rage, sneer". 

So basically, sarcasm means 'To tear flesh'! I'm sure there must be a less dramatic way to use sarcasm... Here's another little something off Wikipedia:

The Purpose of Sarcasm

In William Brant's Critique of Sarcastic Reason, sarcasm is hypothesized to develop as a cognitive and emotional tool that adolescents use in order to test the borders of politeness and truth in conversation. Sarcasm recognition and expression both require the development of understanding forms of language, especially if sarcasm occurs without a cue or signal (e.g., a sarcastic tone or rolling the eyes). Sarcasm is argued to be more sophisticated than lying because lying is expressed as early as the age of three, but sarcastic expressions take place much later during development (Brant, 2012). 

What all that means, is that teenagers use sarcasm to test the borders of politeness and truth in a conversation. i.e. How polite they need to be, compared to how truthful they are allowed to be. It is also saying that different parts of the brain work hard to understand sarcasm especially if it isn't obvious. Hey, if it uses your brain, could sarcasm actually be good for you?!

Situations may be ironic, but only people can be sarcastic. Second, people may be unintentionally ironic, but sarcasm requires intention. 

Irony is different to sarcasm, firstly because irony isn't hurtful and it can be accidental, whereas sarcasm needs to be thought through.

Sarcasm is a form of expression of language often including the assertion of a statement that is disbelieved by the expresser (e.g., where the sentential meaning is disbelieved by the expresser), although the intended meaning is different from the sentence meaning. The recognition of sarcasm without the accompaniment of a cue develops around the beginning of adolescence or later. Sarcasm involves the expression of an insulting remark that requires the interpreter to understand the negative  emotional connotation of the expresser within the context of the situation at hand. 

This just means that around the teen age people start understanding sarcasm by looking at the context and situation.

Different Effects of Sarcasm

(1) people can pretend to be insulted when they are not or pretend not to be insulted when they are seriously offended; (2) an individual may feel ridiculed directly after the comment and then find it humorous or neutral thereafter; and (3) the individual may not feel insulted until years after the comment was expressed and considered.

Ok, so number one is what I was getting at before. People can pretend to be insulted when they're not! This is great example of sarcasm being used in a funny way. If you pretend to be offended, and the other person knows full well that you're not offended, it's just a bit of fun to play around with sarcasm! I find this fun, but I use it in moderation and never towards parents, relatives, teachers or just any adult.

But, on the other hand, sarcasm can be used in a dangerous, hurtful or just un-productive way. I understand all this and I was wondering what your thoughts were. 

Please feel free to leave a comment, I love hearing your feedback!


P.S Everything in the larger sized writing is either off or Wikipedia.


  1. I love your blog! And I would love to help you spice it up! I make graphics, view my graphics blog?

    1. Thanks Azia! I'll definitely go have a look-see...


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