The Meaning of Satire: What It Is and How To Use It

What is satire and how is it used in entertainment? This article will teach you everything you need to know about the meaning of satire.

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Have you ever read a novel or watched a show that is considered satire? You may have even done this without realizing it! Keep reading to learn all about the meaning of the word satire, examples of satire, translations of the word satire, synonyms, and antonyms! 

What Does the Word Satire Mean?

According to OSU and Britannica, satire is a literary genre which ridicules or denounces people or beliefs through the techniques of parody, irony, sarcasm, exaggeration, wit, derision, or caricature. Satire can be seen in literary works or other forms of entertainment like performances and verse poetry, and it always uses comedy and humor as commentary.

Examples of satire include the poems of Jonathan Swift, Saturday Night Live sketches, the novel Gulliver’s Travels, George Orwell’s Animal Farm, the National Lampoon, Alexander Pope’s The Rape of the Lock, political cartoons, Stephen Colbert’s The Colbert Report, South Park, and the satirical online journal The Onion

People who practice satire are called satyrs or satirists. Often, satire is used as a commentary on the vices or follies of politicians or politics in general. This is called political satire. There are also other forms of satire which comment on human nature or pop culture.

Juvenalian satire is dark and bitter, and it uses humor to show a person’s anger at the state of the world. Horatian satire is light-hearted and good-natured, and it uses humor to encourage the improvement of peoples’ morals. Menippean satire contains miscellaneous forms of satire.

What Is the Origin of Satire?

According to Dictionary, the word satire has been used since Middle English in the 16th century. This word comes from the Latin satira and the earlier satura which mean medley or mixture. This is the feminine derivative of satur, which means sated or saturated. 

This term was first used by Quintillian — a classical rhetorician — similarly to the phrase lanx satura, which meant a medley of fruits. Similarly, the word lampoon comes from the French lampons.

How Can Satire Be Used in a Sentence?

The word satire can be used to reference the literary device in many contexts. You might use the word satire in an English class or when referencing a novel or piece of entertainment. 

Take a look at the below example sentences containing satire to learn how to use satire in a sentence.

Example #1: Satire in an English Class

We studied the usage of satire in my English class this week. I enjoyed learning about how comedy can be used as sociopolitical commentary. 

Example #2: Satire on the Stage

I wrote a satirical sketch comedy show that I will perform this weekend. We focus on political satire and make comments about the current state of the world. I hope that people laugh.

Example #3: Satire on Television

I enjoy watching satirical television shows. Sometimes watching the news can be scary, but it makes me feel better to learn about the state of the world through commentary.

What Are Translations of Satire?

If you are taking a class about literature in other languages or if you are discussing satire with someone who does not know English, you can use this list of translations fo satire from Nice Translator to help you communicate:

  • Indonesian: sindiran
  • Welsh: sêr
  • Urdu: سیارے
  • Hungarian: szatíra
  • Spanish: sátira
  • Amharic: ሳተር
  • German: Satire
  • Czech: satira
  • Norwegian: satire
  • Hebrew: סָאטִירָה
  • Lithuanian: Satyras
  • Korean: 풍자
  • Italian: satira
  • Hindi: हास्य व्यंग्य
  • Romanian: satiră
  • Telugu: సంక్షోభం
  • Filipino: Satire
  • Portuguese (Brazil): sátira
  • Basque: sinetsi
  • Greek: σάτυρα
  • Swedish: satir
  • Malayalam: ആഹാരശാല
  • Estonian: satiir
  • Marathi: व्यंगचित्र
  • Turkish: hiciv
  • Kannada: ವಿಡಂಬನೆ
  • Gujarati: વ્યભિચાર
  • French: satire
  • Bulgarian: сатира
  • Polish: satyra
  • Arabic: هجاء
  • Serbian: сатира
  • Chinese (Taiwan): 諷刺
  • Thai: เสียดสี
  • Ukrainian: сатира
  • Catalan: sàtira
  • Danish: Satire
  • Tamil: நையாண்டி
  • Slovak: satira
  • Portuguese (Portugal): sátira
  • Finnish: satiiri
  • Croatian: satira
  • Russian: сатира
  • Dutch: satire
  • Chinese (PRC): 讽刺
  • Japanese: 風刺
  • Latvian: satīra

What Are Synonyms of the Word Satire?

Since satire is a specific term, it is not always correct in all circumstances. Power Thesaurus lists many synonyms of satire that you can use in its place, or that you can study if the word satire is not quite right for your specific context.

  • burlesque
  • caricature
  • cartoon
  • cartoons
  • caustic remark
  • causticity
  • chaffing
  • comedy
  • cynicism
  • derision
  • exaggeration
  • farce
  • gag show
  • idyl
  • imitation
  • irony
  • lampoon
  • light entertainment
  • mockery
  • mocking remark
  • narrative poem
  • parodies
  • parody
  • pasquil
  • pasquinade
  • pastiche
  • piss-take
  • quip
  • raillery
  • repartee
  • ridicule
  • sarcasm
  • sarcasms
  • sardonicism
  • satiric
  • scorn
  • send-up
  • sendup
  • skit
  • spoof
  • squib
  • take-off
  • takeoff
  • travesty
  • wit
  • witticism

What Are Antonyms of the Word Satire?

There are also many different words that have the opposite meaning of satire. These words from Power Thesaurus also refer to things that are earnest or honest in nature.  Satire often uses things like sarcasm and comedy as commentary.

  • animation
  • ardency
  • ardor
  • avidity
  • commitment
  • dedication
  • determination
  • devotedness
  • devotion
  • diligence
  • eagerness
  • earnest
  • earnestness
  • emotion
  • empressement
  • energy
  • enthusiasm
  • excitement
  • fanaticism
  • fervency
  • fervor
  • fire
  • graveness
  • gravity
  • gusto
  • heat
  • humorlessness
  • inner beauty
  • intensity
  • intentness
  • keenness
  • love
  • loyalty
  • passion
  • persistence
  • readiness
  • resolution
  • sedateness
  • serious-mindedness
  • seriousness
  • sincereness
  • sincerity
  • sober-mindedness
  • soberness
  • sobriety
  • solemnity
  • solemnness
  • somberness
  • spirit
  • spirituality
  • staidness
  • tenacity
  • vehemence
  • verve
  • vigor
  • warmth
  • what-it-takes
  • wholeheartedness
  • willingness
  • woman tough
  • zeal
  • zest


The word satire refers to a literary device and genre of using humor to make a commentary on human nature, politics, and more. Satire utilizes the techniques of parody, irony, sarcasm, exaggeration, wit, derision, and caricature to comment on the nature of others and criticize contemptible behavior.


  1. Satire | Dictionary 
  2. What is Satire || Definition & Examples | Oregon State University 
  3. satire | Definition & Examples | Britannica 
  4. Satire synonyms – 492 Words and Phrases for Satire | Power Thesaurus 
  5. Satire | Nice Translator 
  6. Earnestness synonyms – 1 023 Words and Phrases for Earnestness | Power Thesaurus