Where does the word “sarcastic” come from and What does sarcasm mean in Greek?

True sarcasm wounds the one against whom it is directed as deeply as though it were the flesh rather than the spirit receiving the attack.

The Greeks recognized this, and invented an appropriate metaphor.

From the word sarx, “flesh,” they had already coined sarkazein, “to tear the flesh in the manner of a dog.”

And from this they invented sarkastikos, “bitterly cutting, caustic,” or, exactly, sarcastic.

About Karen Hill

Karen Hill is a freelance writer, editor, and columnist. Born in New York, her work has appeared in the Examiner, Yahoo News, Buzzfeed, among others.

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