Sarcasm fascinates me so much, I just had to write this. The word came from Late Latin sarcasmus, which in turn derived from the Greek term sarkasmos, which meant "a sneer or taunt". Pretty standard so far, but here it gets interesting. Sarkasmos derives from the earlier word sarkazo, which had varying degree of literalness as it changed over time: going backward, it meant something like "an angry sneer", from "gnashing teeth in anger", ultimately from "I strip off the flesh". This last definition is the closest to the root of the word, and developed to what it is today through becoming increasingly figurative (there wasn't much application for the word in its first form, of course). Sarkazo is a combination of the root sarx, meaning "meat", and the suffix -azo. Sarx derives from the Proto-Indo-European word for "cut" (an instance of anthimeria, it became so since you "cut" "meat" when eating), twerk. No, not that twerk: this is an archaic root. Fun fact: usage of the word sarcasm has decreased from the nineteenth century.
Hello! I'm Adam Aleksic, a senior studying government and linguistics at Harvard University, where I co-founded the Harvard Undergraduate Linguistics Society. In addition to etymology, I also really enjoy trivia, politics, vexillology, geography, board games, conlanging, art history, and law.