Top 10 Differences Between Sarcasm and Satire

10:00 am 21 Apr, 2013

Sarcasm and Satire are often used interchangeably. However, there are underlying differences between the two. While sarcasm is vindictive and nasty in nature used as a sneer; satire is a kind of literature and art used to depict the failings and limitations of a society and at times of individuals. Satire as a genre has been around since ancient times. Sarcasm would also perhaps been innate in individuals for times immemorial. Let’s look at some of the differences between the two.

10. Sarcasm appraises praise, Satire criticism:

Satire in writings or plays exposed the shortcomings. It is a good criticism in varying degrees; with the sole intention of jolting those concerned from slumber to correct what is wrong. The disapproval is depicted for realization to sink in. Sarcasm however is insult veiled in the form of praise obviously never meant as one.

Sarcasm appraises praise, Satire criticism - Top 10 Differences Between Sarcasm and Satire

9. Sarcasm, not satire, is ill-humored mockery:

Mockery or taunt is blatant ill-humored mockery. If being pleasant is what your intention is then being sarcastic is not the way forward. Satire on the other hand is all in good humor. Satire is a way of teasing intellectually and driving home the point however sarcasm is more likely to drive away the person it is aimed at. Thus, sarcasm, not satire, is full of poker-faced ill-humored derision.

Sarcasm, not satire, is ill-humored mockery - Top 10 Differences Between Sarcasm and Satire

8. Satire, not Sarcasm, has a moral dimension:

Satire has dimension of moral added to it. The reason being it is used to convey a message. Hence, it is used to force people to conclude the context into few lines of significance. It is highly doubtful though that Sarcasm has anything to do with moral. Since Satire is all about the intention to cause realization, it is but necessary that it makes a point and one that has a meaning. However, the same is not true for Sarcasm.

Satire, not Sarcasm, has a moral dimension - Top 10 Differences Between Sarcasm and Satire

7. Satire, not sarcasm, more to do with Society:

Satire is a piece of literature or art that is used to point out the follies of a society. It is a humor packaging of the shortcomings of a society with the intention to achieve a positive outcome. The bigger picture when it comes to Satire is the society. It is used to make a point keeping in mind the betterment of the society. Sarcasm on the other hand is more often than not related to an individual often with the intention to insult and slur.

Satire, not sarcasm, more to do with Society - Top 10 Differences Between Sarcasm and Satire

6. Sarcasm, not satire, is alienating:

Sarcasm is what you would notice in children with tantrums or in couples who hate being with each other. It is the instrument of bullies and immature individuals. Sarcasm doesn’t show you in a good light. It definitely doesn’t improve your perception in the eyes of people around you. What actually results is that you end up alienating them further and if at all you harbor the misconception that it makes you appear intelligent then it is a fallacy. Satirists however are free of these worries.

Sarcasm, not satire, is alienating - Top 10 Differences Between Sarcasm and Satire

5. Sarcasm, not Satire, is wounding:


Sarcasm is spiteful and offending at times. If you ponder on the subject of sarcasm you would realize that the times you would have chosen to be sarcastic would always have been when in the company of a not so favorite person. It could be a bar fight or a heated office discussion; but in most cases sarcasm is intended to be hurtful and upsetting. Since satire has nothing to do with an argument but used as a device for improvement, it is never nasty.

Sarcasm, not Satire, is wounding - Top 10 Differences Between Sarcasm and Satire

4. Satire, not Sarcasm, genre of literature:

Satire is a genre of literature and often used in performing arts however it is not so with Sarcasm. Perhaps this is the reason why satirists like Plato, Erasmus, Jane Austen, Jonathan Swift, Oscar Wilde, and Voltaire are still spoken about with esteem. Sarcasm, however, has nothing to do with literature. It is just another form of taunt or bitter jibe.

Satire, not Sarcasm, genre of literature - Top 10 Differences Between Sarcasm and Satire

3. Sarcasm not satire for One-upmanship:

Sarcasm is usually used in conversations to drive home a point or more specifically to score points. It is an instrument for one-upmanship, to outdo a competitor.  But Satire is used for more refined reasons, perhaps that is why it is so effective and leads to a positive outcome. So unless you are in a debate with someone you utterly detest try and avoid severe dozes of sarcasm!

Sarcasm not satire for One-upmanship - Top 10 Differences Between Sarcasm and Satire

2. Humor in Satire while not in Sarcasm:

Satire has humor as an integral element while sarcasm doesn’t. You would probably find it easier to consume a good helping of satire while Sarcasm would probably in extreme cases take you to your wits end. Since the main objective of Satire is to help the society realize its shortcomings and improve; humor becomes an important part of it. But since sarcasm is usually used as a tool for one-upmanhsip, humor doesn’t really need to be integral to it.

Humor in Satire while not in Sarcasm - Top 10 Differences Between Sarcasm and Satire

1. Satire educates while Sarcasm doesn’t:

Sarcasm is sharp and bitter. More often than not sarcasm ends up hurting you or landing you in trouble. Satire is beneficial with an intention to affect improvement. Constructive Social criticism is what Satire could be defined as. The biggest difference between Sarcasm and Satire is that while Satire has the capability of causing you and the society in general to improve and educate itself; sarcasm fails in those departments.

Satire educates while Sarcasm doesn't - Top 10 Differences Between Sarcasm and Satire

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