Satire vs satyr

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Satire and satyr are two words that are close in spelling in pronunciation and are often confused. We will examine the definitions of the words satire and satyr, where these two words came from and some examples of their use in sentences.

Satire is using humor, exaggeration, ridicule and irony as a way to highlight the shortcomings, abuses or stupidity displayed by people or institutions. A satire may be a movie, play, novel, essay, song, meme or other form of expression. The idea of the satire was pioneered by the Greek playwright Aristophanes in his comic dramas known as Old Comedy. A satire is designed to point a finger at people or institutions that are abusing their power or doing something that is not in the public interest, usually in the hope that the situation will be rectified. The plural form is satires, the adjective forms are satiric or satirical. The word satire is derived from the Latin word satira, referring to a type of poem.

A satyr is a Greek mythical creature from the woodland. A satyr is a companion to Dionysus, the god of fertility and wine. A satyr is usually depicted as being part man, part horse, with a horse’s ears and tail. Later, the idea of the satyr became confabulated with the Roman faun, and was depicted as half man, half goat. The word satyr is used figuratively to mean a man with outsized sexual desires, it is derived from the Greek word satyros. The plural form is satyrs, the adjective forms satyric, satyrical and satyr-like are all considered correct, but none of these forms are in common use.


Literally and figuratively, the characters in the movie stay outside the square — this fizzy satire is a showcase for vanity and shallowness. (The Herald)

But for the internet-savy, satire and sarcasm-loving netizens, Suresh is whom they want to spend their weekends with. (The New Indian Express)

The natural world and its palliative force is further evoked by a lime-green velvet Gio Ponti chair that vaguely resembles a pea pod, and a black velvet Mark Brazier-Jones chaise longue with silver steel satyr feet.  (The New York Times)

During that series of arena shows, he had never been more joyful or unironic on stage — an ageless satyr-prince, one who was now willing to just stand up and boogie, reveling in the glory of his golden years. (Variety Magazine)