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Sarcasm

From Academic Kids

Sarcasm is sneering, jesting, or mocking a person, a situation or thing. It is often used in a humorous manner and sometimes expressed through particular vocal intonations. Sarcasm is often expressed in ironical statements. It can sometimes be the sincerest form of discourse for the emotionally fragile. This is often done by simply over-emphasizing the actual statement, or particular words of it.

Origins

The word comes from the late Latin word, sarcasmus, which, in turn, comes from the Greek sarkasmos, from sarkazein - to bite the lips in rage,- from sarx, sark-, flesh - the root word literally mean "to cut a piece of flesh (from the targeted person)."

It was described as "the lowest form of wit" by Oscar Wilde. In 1983, Leonard Rossiter published a book titled The Lowest Form of Wit (ISBN 0722175132) which includes the history of sarcasm, rules of sarcasm, and many sarcastic comments (some which are questionable) by notable individuals.

Usage

The term is often misused as a synonym for irony. Irony refers however to the literal meaning and the intended meaning of the words uttered being different, while sarcasm refers to the mocking intent of the utterance. It is possible to be ironic without being sarcastic, and to be sarcastic without being ironic.

Sarcasm is also often confused with cynicism, which in common use is seen as a fundamental nihilistic attitude towards other people and life, whereas sarcasm can often be used to express positive ideas or sentiments.

Sarcasm in electronic communication

Because it is vocally-oriented, sarcasm is often hard to pick up in written messages and is often misinterpreted. To prevent this, sarcastic comments on the Internet are often ended with an emoticon or surrounded with <sarcasm> .. <snicker>.. </sarcasm> tags.

In the UK, television subtitles for those with impaired hearing have adopted the use of (!) following speech in which sarcasm or irony is perceptible via the tone of voice.da:Sarkasme de:Sarkasmus nl:Sarcasme sv:Sarkasm

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