Origin of the word “sarcasm”

Sarcasm comes from the Ancient Greek sarx (flesh), derived from the verb sarkázein (σαρκάζειν), which means to tear flesh. A sarcastic remark, therefore, is one that “pulls off flesh,” that is, that hurts.

Sarcasm denotes a derision or mockery, closely linked to irony, with a mordant intent almost cruel, often hurting a person. The origin of the word is linked to the fact that we often bite our lips when someone comes to us with scathing sarcasm.

Sarcasm is a style figure widely used in oral and written arts, particularly in literature and oratory. Fyodor Dostoyevsky was one of the great representatives of the use of this stylistic resource, defining it as “the last refuge of the modest and virtuous when the privacy of their souls is invaded vulgarly and intrusively.”


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