Blog Post #264:  Sarcasm

A friend recently wrote about sarcasm.  Sometimes sarcasm is okay; but it can go wrong.

A definition of sarcasm is: 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.

Here are some examples (from:


  • I’m so happy the teacher gave me all this homework right before Spring Break.  (No, they are not happy – but being sarcastic)
  • I work 40 hours a week to be this poor.  (It could be true – but the implication is sarcastic)
  • I love the fact that my neighbor’s dog barks at me whenever I go outside. It makes me feel noticed.  (no, she doesn’t like the dog)
  • That speaker was so interesting that I barely needed to drink my third cup of coffee. (sarcasm – the speaker was so boring I got through three cups of coffee to try to keep me awake)
  • “I didn’t attend the funeral, but I sent a nice letter saying that I approved of it.” — Mark Twain (it wasn’t good enough to go to the funeral)


Back to my friend Shanti Feldhahn’s comments on sarcasm:

Here are her bullet points:

  • People stop trusting you – you think it is in good fun, you didn’t mean to be nasty, but the message comes through
  • You are training yourself to be cruel – You think your sarcasm is fun and cute – you laugh at it; you start to think of more sarcastic things to say.  
  • You won’t get honest opinions or answers from people.  They will think you will send back a zinger – so best to not say anything at all before you get mocked.
  • Forget real closeness.  Your friends (if you have any) don’t want to become an object of your tongue
  • Sarcasm tends to see the negative not the position.  From the first example above, the student is being negative – I got all this homework right before Spring Break – that isn’t very nice of the teacher – I wanted to laze around over spring break and not do any homework.
  • Sarcasm sets the tone of the room – soon more and more are becoming sarcastic.  

Don Rickles was a master of sarcasm – he would insult people he was with.  It was funny as people laughed at how he threw zingers around.  He was a pro at ‘roasts’ – when the intent was to honor somebody by telling stories about him.

Maybe I’m back on the concept – “If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all”.  Some irony might be okay, but keep everything in balance.

And … if that writer is correct, watch the sarcasm and the bitter tongue!!

What do you think?

Let me know at:

Have a great day!!


Posted by Bruce White

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