Sarcasm vs. Irony

By Jaxson

Main Difference

The main difference between Sarcasm and Irony is that the Sarcasm is a sharp, bitter, or cutting expression or remark; a bitter gibe or taunt and Irony is a rhetorical device, literary technique, or situation in which there is an incongruity between the literal and the implied meaning.

  • Sarcasm

    Sarcasm is “a sharp, bitter, or cutting expression or remark; a bitter gibe or taunt”. Sarcasm may employ ambivalence, although sarcasm is not necessarily ironic. Most noticeable in spoken word, sarcasm is mainly distinguished by the inflection with which it is spoken and is largely context-dependent.

  • Irony

    Irony (from Ancient Greek εἰρωνεία eirōneía, meaning ‘dissimulation, feigned ignorance’), in its broadest sense, is a rhetorical device, literary technique, or event in which what appears, on the surface, to be the case, differs radically from what is actually the case.

    Irony can be categorized into different types, including: verbal irony, dramatic irony, and situational irony. Verbal, dramatic, and situational irony are often used for emphasis in the assertion of a truth. The ironic form of simile, used in sarcasm, and some forms of litotes can emphasize one’s meaning by the deliberate use of language which states the opposite of the truth, denies the contrary of the truth, or drastically and obviously understates a factual connection. Other forms, as identified by historian Connop Thirlwall, include dialectic and practical irony.

  • Sarcasm (noun)

    Use of acerbic language to mock or convey contempt, often using irony and (in speech) often marked by overemphasis and a sneering tone of voice.

    “Sarcasm is the lowest form of wit.”

  • Sarcasm (noun)

    An act of sarcasm.

  • Irony (noun)

    A humorous context.

  • Irony (noun)

    Dramatic irony: a theatrical effect in which the meaning of a situation, or some incongruity in the plot, is understood by the audience, but not by the characters in the play.

  • Irony (noun)

    Ignorance feigned for the purpose of provoking an antagonist; Socratic irony.

  • Irony (noun)

    The state of two usually unrelated entities, parties, actions, etc. being related through a common connection in an uncommon way.

  • Irony (noun)


  • Irony (adjective)

    Of or pertaining to the metal iron.

    “The food had an irony taste to it.”


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