a. A literary work in which human foolishness or vice is attacked through irony, derision, or wit.
b. The branch of literature constituting such works.
2. Irony, sarcasm, or caustic wit used to attack or expose human foolishness or vice.
[Latin satira, probably alteration (influenced by Greek satur, satyr, and saturos, burlesque of a mythical episode) of (lanx) satura, fruit (plate) mixture, from feminine of satur, sated, well-fitted; see sā- in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2018 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.