July 30, 2011
- sarcastic (adjective)
- What does it mean?
- 1 : containing words meant usually to hurt someone's feelings or show scorn2 : being in the habit of using words meant usually to hurt someone's feelings or show scorn
- How do you use it?
- "A nasty letter or a sarcastic one can make you righteously angry, but what can you do about a polite letter of rejection?" (E. L. Konigsburg, From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler)
- Are you a word wiz?
In what language do you think "sarcastic" has its origins?We'll cut to the chase: B is the right answer. The adjective "sarcastic" comes from the noun "sarcasm." "Sarcasm" derives from "sarkazein," a Greek verb that literally means "to tear flesh." Anyone who has suffered from sharp, cutting, or wounding sarcastic remarks probably wasn't surprised to learn that. The Greeks also used "sarkazein" in the extended senses of "to bite one's lip in rage," and "to gnash one's teeth," and finally "to sneer." From there, the Greek noun "sarkasmos," meaning "a sneering or hurtful remark," came into use. It is from this noun that English got "sarcasm" and "sarcastic."