Difference between Sarcastic and Facetious

Updated on June 28, 2017

Have you ever read someone’s comment and wondered if that person was being sarcastic or just facetious? If this has happened too many times in your life, this article is for you. Read on as we discuss the difference between the words “sarcastic” and “facetious.”

Definitions

Sarcastic
An example of a sarcastic remark

The term sarcastic means “having the characteristics of sarcasm” or “the use of ironic statements to purposefully mock or ridicule a person.” It comes from the Greek word sarkazein which means “to speak bitterly.”

If someone is being sarcastic, he is stating the exact opposite of what he really means in a sharp or bitter tone to insult a person. Let us take a look at some examples of sarcastic statements:

  • I really love being put on hold for an hour when calling the complaints department. I love the hold music. I’ve always wanted to memorize it.
  • “Thank you for doing your best to keep our cafeteria clean,” Ms. Gibbs said over the microphone as she saw some students leave their empty trays on the table.
  • When Tom asked Maria if she wanted to see his brand new sports car, Maria responded, “Sure! I can’t wait to see it! In fact, send me twenty pictures of your car in different angles!”
facetious
An example of a facetious remark

Being facetious means “taking things in a humorous and usually inappropriate manner.” It comes from the Latin word facetus which means “witty.”

When someone is being facetious, he tries to sound smart or funny by dismissing a serious matter. It can also mean that he is making inappropriate jokes or remarks about a major or significant situation. Let us take a look at some examples below:

  • I don’t care if I’m fat. My cat loves to sleep on a human couch.
  • I heard 43rd street has been flooded for days. At least they don’t have to worry about water shortage anymore.
  • Farah’s husband just left her. Now she can enjoy more closet space for her designer outfits!

Sarcastic vs Facetious

What, then, is the difference between sarcastic and facetious?

The word “sarcastic” comes from the Greek word sarkazein which means “to speak bitterly.” It means “using ironic statements to deliberately hurt or express contempt for someone.” The word “facetious,” on the other hand, comes from the Latin term facetus which means “witty.” It means “using jokes or inappropriate humor to dismiss a significant or serious matter.”

In short, a sarcastic statement is one that is ironic and hurtful, whereas a facetious remark is one that is funny without the intent of hurting someone.

Comparison Chart

SarcasticFacetious
Comes from the Greek word sarkazein which means “to speak bitterly”Comes from the Latin word facetus which means “witty”
Means “having the characteristics of sarcasm” or “the use of ironic statements to purposefully mock or ridicule a person”Means “taking things in a humorous and usually inappropriate manner”
Aims to hurt, ridicule, or insultAims to be funny without contempt or malice