What's the difference between facetious and sarcastic?


The adjective facetious means amusing, humorous and lacking serious intent. A facetious remark is not meant to be taken literally. The adjective sarcastic means characterized by harsh or bitter irony. A sarcastic remark is cutting and may be seen as an ironical taunt.

The adjective facetious refers to joking and humor. A facetious person pokes fun at serious situations, often as an attempt to lighten up the mood. Facetious humor is often an attempt to relieve group stress.

Sarcasm is generally wielded with the intent to harm the recipient. A sarcastic comment is often biting and filled with derision. Often the intent is to be hostile in a covert manner. However, some people are sarcastic without meaning to cause harm. According to the article "Field Guide: Sarcastic Masters" in "Psychology Today," people who use sarcastic humor sometimes unwittingly cause harm to relationships and even careers.

The word facetious comes from the Latin word "facetiae," meaning something witty. Other forms of the word include the adverb facetiously and the noun facetiousness. The word sarcastic comes from the Latin word "sarcasmus" and the Greek word "sarkasmos," both of which mean to rend (the flesh) or to sneer. Other forms of the word include the adverb sarcastically and the noun sarcasm.

Q&A Related to "What's the difference between facetious and..."
Facetious is playful - sarcastic is demeaning. cha cha again!
The technical difference is that sarcasm is a form of speech whereas facetiousness can be a form of behaviour - making inappropriate gestures could be seen as facetious behaviour.
Facetious means given to wit and good humour; jocular; whereas sarcasm uses irony and humour to criticise or make fun of something. Sarcasm is nastier.
When one is sarcastic, the tone of voice gives it away. When one if facetious one's tone of voice stays the same, so the listener has to pick it up in context clues.
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