Tuesday, September 24, 2013

A Satirical Dictionary for GHS

In the comment box below type in a revised version of your satirical definition. (New and improved! Revised for super-sized satire!)

Also, include a standard definition for comparison.

Finally, write an explanation: What point are you hoping to make with your satire? How have you used satirical strategies to create an effective satire?

Due by C-block tomorrow (Wednesday, September 25)


  1. Ask:
    Standard Definition: to present a question in order to obtain an answer or some information.
    My Definition: imprudently attempting to find material as an immediate source of faulty intelligence to ignorantly live by.

    In my definition of “ask”, I have attempted to satirize the shallow agenda many people have in asking questions. The word “ask” commonly means “to present a question to obtain information”. When I consider the word, however, I immediately think about the way in which people do ask. Are their motives honorable? It seems to me that many people go about their lives asking swift questions - questions that aren’t even true questions, too often merely spewed senselessness - in order to find the solution they need - accurate or otherwise. I believe most would agree that this is a common occurrence. In my definition, I’ve turned the ordinary verb definition into one with adverbs and phrases right of the bat - “imprudently”, “an immediate source of faulty intelligence”, “ignorantly” - that are condemning the action into something that is often wrongly used in today’s world. My definition uses a rather formal register. As I was finding suitable words to capture the main aspects I wanted to incorporate satirically about the word “ask”, I unintentionally chose big ones: imprudently, immediate, faulty, intelligence, ignorantly. The diction and sentence structure in my definition works in the favor of my satire - high-level vocabulary makes its point strikingly, ending with a sharp “to ignorantly live by”, and the delivery of my message is to the point due to a simple, flat line.

  2. My Definition-
    Destiny: used for inspiration, all people are blessed with this promising future of an inevitable descent into ignorance and death

    Dictionary definition -
    Destiny: the events that will necessarily happen to a particular person or thing in the future

    In my own definition of the word destiny, I tried to pull out the satire in the irony. "promising future" to "ignorance and death". Normally, it just means any future whatsoever one might have, but it's usually used in the positive connotation that you can take hold of your destiny and become the "star", "doctor", or "winner" you were meant to be. However, as Bierce has done with his definitions and satire teaches us, I focused on more of the negative connotation. Sure, none of what I am saying is technically incorrect in my definition. It is however, much too focused on the negative being. I chose destiny because of the overuse of the word in the positive light. When in fact, someone really might just be "destined" to live an ignorant lifestyle, as we are all destined to die. The point I was trying to make with my satire is for people to open their eyes a little, destiny, dreams, perception, potential, they are all kind of tied together with the ignorance of mankind. We are actually quite ignorant in our everyday lives. I admit, that I do sometimes use the phrase "it's a free country, I can do whatever I want", when that's not true in all cases. Like if I wanted to practice my independence by doing something that was only affecting me, it could still land me in jail (not so free anymore). For example, if I were to lock myself in my basement and do heroin for the sake of creative purposes, it would still be illegal. And if the police were to search my house and find my heroin, I would be in big trouble, when it wasn't directly affecting the health or wellness of others. So, in some cases we do lead an ignorant lifestyle that will promptly end, but it's almost our destiny to do so.

  3. Dictionary: Ego- a person's sense of self-esteem or self-importance
    Ego my definition- The downfall of great men

    My definition uses understatement as its satirical strategy. It is also irony in that is its not what you expected. There is no mention of the traditional definition in my definition. The word great also adds to the satire of the definition because of course a great man would have the license to think well of himself, however too much ego can turn people against him. In this way a great man would have no influence. I go with the bad connotations of too much ego.

  4. Life

    Web: the condition that distinguishes animals and plants from inorganic matter, including the capacity for growth, reproduction, functional activity, and continual change preceding death. // the existence of an individual human being or animal.

    Me: A limited amount of time that no one can seem to spend meaningfully.

    What I mean by this slightly crude and sarcastic satirical definition: If we only have a limited time here on earth with no clue as to where we go after, why don't we try to do GOOD in the world? No one will sit with a lonely kid at lunch just to be a good person. No one will dare stand out and make a difference or have a chance at stepping out of the strict society we live in; No one seems to want to be remembered for making a change. Life should be more than a state of existence, mere sustenance to get us by. I firmly believe in the quote "Well-behaved women seldom make history." People who stand out and do what they want, not what everyone else wants for them, make a change- and usually a noticeable one that others will want to partake in. A way to be remembered, a way to truly live.

  5. Star-n. any of those celestial bodies except planets which are visible at night and look like fixed points of light
    STAR-n. a promising light in the night sky upon which poor romantic souls confess their darkest desires with the false belief that their wishes will come true

    -- The satirized definition of the word STAR makes fun of those who wish upon stars believing that a mere light in the dark sky can grant a wish. In making fun of this word, I chose a very formal diction for my definition. The choice of a diction high on the formality scale was in attempt to sound more cynical and pessimistic, for people may not pick up on the negativity if standard language was used, or it may have been less effective. I also chose for some of my words to contradict one another, such as "promising light" and "darkest desires". This is an example of satirical incongruity in which the light and darkness are opposites and yet the people confess their dark desires to the light of hope in the sky.

  6. Standard definition:
    Homework, n. schoolwork assigned to be done outside the classroom

    Satirical definition:
    Homework, n. counterproductive work teachers assign to torture students which makes students distance themselves from any work at all. It is a loophole to get students to work longer than the six hours that is already required from them each weekday.

    With this satire, I am targeting teachers who assign too much homework. I am trying to make the point that students go to school five days a week, and that the extra work that is assigned is not welcomed. This standpoint is common among students, which makes the definition relatable and more humorus. I use reversal to make homework, something that is designed to help students learn, practice, and understand concepts, and make it something that alienates students from work and has a negative effect. I use the word “torture” as exaggeration to make doing homework seem like a painful experience. I mention how teachers use homework as a “loophole,” which makes it seem as if they are going around a system with rules that they are supposed to be following. These word choices make it seem like students are victims to teachers and their homework assignments. The exaggeration and reversal add to the satire that makes it more amusing than a student simply saying they do not want to do homework.

  7. Standard: Texting- A way of communication through messaging on phones.
    Satirical: Texting- A coward’s way of showing their feelings or admitting their faults behind the safety of their keyboard.
    Our world has become a social network haven. People have all but lost the need for human interactions as they sit comfortably behind a screen or a faulty profile. The internet enables us to distract ourselves and vicariously live life. We have the ability to become different people via social networking and texting is one of the worst enablers of this. We say things to people that we would never dare say in person, whether good or bad, and we develop relationships based on these faulty foundations. We cower behind a screen and lose touch with reality. We have taken advantage of a convenient way of communication by turning it into the main form of communication. Many people are socially inept when forced to speak face to face. “I fear the day that technology will surpass our human interaction. The world will have a generation of idiots.” –Albert Einstein

  8. Dictionary: Gossip- casual or unconstrained conversation or reports about other people, typically involving details that are not confirmed as being true.
    Satirical: Gossip- everyday conversations sometimes involving social media
    Gossip is what makes the world go round now a days. Because of the internet and social media people never have a sense if what they read is true or not. People today mostly talk about each other and other people (celebrities, etc.) it's the pastime of today's society. Talking about others, whether the information is true or not, has become a hobby to our generation because of the social media we have access to. Everyone is always connected to each other, you rarely see someone without a smart phone or at least a computer. Everyday conversations thrive on talking about other people.

  9. Popular: Regarded with favor, approval, or affection by people in general.

    My definition: A status you obtain by acting in such unfavorable ways, including being fake, two-faced, hypocritical as well as participating in the acts of lying, conniving and trickery to convince and persuade others to like you because you feel as though you need more friends to consider part of your social network.

    We've all heard "oh she's so pretty and popular". Looks has nothing to do with popularity, nor does athleticism and intelligence even though people seem to believe that is how young people (especially teenagers) become popular. People really don't become popular by speaking their mind, telling someone that they really don't like them or standing out. People who are popular are surrounded by "friends" that are followers and cannot make up their own ideas. Someone who is popular usually makes everyone think they are liked by that person, even if that person is lying and only likes them so they don't "burn a bridge". That's not being true to yourself or anyone else. We are human. We can't like everyone we meet or agree with everyone's ideas. But, by faking it, we can obtain an "untouchable" status. If many people like us, despite if we like them or not, it is a boost of confidence. Even if this confidence is artificially obtained by being untrue to yourself and your feelings. But you know, obviously that's not "cool". Being true to yourself rather than having a circle of fake friends isn't "cool", but it's worth it. It's better to have a few quality friends than a whole bunch of awful ones.

  10. Dictionary- Idea: Any conception existing in the mind as a result of mental understanding, awareness, or activity.
    Satire- Idea: The creative flow of thought processed through humanity only to be wasted by our own idiotic need for successful failure while rotting within this realm.

    An idea can be defined as a creative idea as many of the technological items we used today are made through the simple process of an idea. What makes this a satire as it is using a twist of inversion to create a more dramatic twist as the definition continues further with attacking a human's capability of ideas. The phrase idea is being attacked as we, as humans, live on our life in a trial and error formula for life while wasting the essence of an idea by adding budget, un-relying workers, death, mishaps, creativity block, etc. that gets in the way of fulfilling an idea. An idea should be expressed simply and straightforward without any blocks in the road. This is why humanity needs successful failure. Humanity in the satire is rotting because we waste so much time adding the adjustments and mistrials that it takes too long for an idea to flourish. The satire in the end ended up using a form of escalating inversion to emphasis on how a simple thought process or task in reality is already over complicated through "humanity".

  11. Family, n. a group consisting of parents and children living together in a household.
    My definition – a collection of people you are obligated to live with whether you like them or not but who will always be there for you.
    -Many people complain about their family and the response everyone gets is, “you can’t choose who you live with.” A lot of people take their family for granted, they’re annoying or they’re nosey but what they don’t realize now is that those people who always got on your nerves are the people who will be there when you need someone the most. “Friends come and go but family is forever.” There is nothing that can break the bond of a family, yes there may be fights, yes you many not speak for a little while, but what is most important is you appreciate them while they are still around.

  12. WHALE WATCHING: the practice of observing whales and other cetaceans in their natural habitat.

    Satirical WHALE WATCHING: the act of going to the YMCA everyday to watch as obese Americans walk on the treadmill or swim in the pool, only to go home with little or no change to ever come of their physical fitness.

    In this satyr I chose to target a larger crowd, but also a weaker crowd. You often see a larger number of over-weight people at cheaper gyms like the YMCA, than you do physically fit individuals. However, when you attend a cheaper gym, you often start to slack, because at the end of the month you do not have a two hundred dollar bill, like at other gyms. If Americans began to try harder at the gym, and even the ways they eat when they leave, the over-weight population in the US could shrink. Instead, there is no drive and people follow the flow, only making themselves a daily show to those actually there with a purpose being fulfilled.

  13. Clock
    Websters: n; a device for measuring and showing time
    Devils: n; a device which has the singular task of holding humans to otherwise abandoned obligations

    This definition of a simple object follows Ambrose Bierce's lead by using higher diction than is needed, and employing the negative side of humanity. Of course clocks keep time, but they also hold us accountable to be at work, in school, at a board meeting, etc. A large part of the satirical humor in this definitions comes from the reversal of it's true definition. By replacing the obvious and correct definition with the obvious but less correct one, I have hopefully created humor.


    Dictionary definition: The belief in and worship of a superhuman controlling power, esp. a personal God or gods.

    My Definition: The belief in separation and ignorance, represented by one or several all mighty, all accepting, forgiving and loving powers, who were crafted specifically to create stubborn differences between two or more parties.

    The satirical irony here is that people generally believe that whatever power(s) you believe in- God, Allah, numerous Gods- encompass a general love and acceptance for all people, yet creates such vicious differences between its followers. You would expect that the followers of a religion would try to replicate the beliefs and practices of their God, yet we do the opposite, and let our differences separate us (inversion). Religion is supposed to make us feel united, but everyday we drift away from each other, and more often than not, the results of our religious disagreements become violent and deadly. Additionally, this definition is sarcastic, as it pokes fun at the way we have had different religions in place for hundreds of years, yet we still can't put aside our differences for the greater good the people.

  15. DOG
    Dictionary Definition: a domesticated carnivorous mammal that typically has a long snout, an acute sense of smell, and a barking, howling, or whining voice. It is widely kept as a pet or for work or field sports.
    My Definition: mans best friend, whether they like it or not.
    -When a person thinks of a dog, they automatically think of the phrase "A dog is a mans best friend." But when further inspected, the phrase sometimes proves to be false, a dog may absolutely hate his owner for a number of reasons. Whether they know it or not, the humans "best friend" may despise them, and they would have no way of knowing. Without the food and water and necessities provided by us humans, the animal will die. When treated right, a dog is the perfect source of inhuman comfort, therefore a dog is a mans best friend, whether they like it or not. This definition is satirical because it uses irony to contradict the first part of the definition, with a hint of sarcasm. This definition also provides inversion, because when you think of a dog you think of how great the pet can make you feel, rather than how happy (or sad, unloved, etc.) you can make the dog feel.

  16. Money
    Dictionary: a current medium of exchange in the form of coins and banknotes; coins and banknotes collectively,
    Satire: 1) The source to dignity in society
    2) The cause to all corruption in society.
    In society today, we seem to be dictated by paper. The amount of this currency generally dictates our standings in society. The people of great wealth also have great power. The more money we have, the more dignified we feel. The word dignity is defined as "the state or quality of being worthy of honor or respect". The first definition for money seems to contradict the second definition, as the words ‘dignity’ and ‘corruption’ seem to be opposites. In our culture, the only way to be 'worthy' or 'respected' is to possess a lot of money, but with great wealth comes great responsibility. There are many people who abuse their power to get what they want, which is why money is also described as the cause to all corruption in society. Humanity can become very greedy, and power hungry. People try to use their excess wealth to bride other people into getting what they want. This satire is aimed towards humanity in general, and I am trying to get people to remember that money is not everything. Society needs to stop focusing on accumulating wealth and power for personal gain, and instead work on being respected by who we are as people, and how we can help others.

  17. EASTER
    WEB: the most important and oldest festival of the Christian Church, celebrating the resurrection of Jesus Christ and held (in the Western Church) between March 21 and April 25, on the first Sunday after the first full moon following the northern spring equinox.
    My Definition: A high Christian holiday celebrating the selfless acts of a young rabbit with an egg fetish.

    The point I’m trying to make with my definition is that the original meaning of Easter has been lost to many people. What is supposed to be a day commemorating the resurrection of Christ has, to some, turned into a day celebrating the easter bunny. I feel that this absurdity in traditional American values is something Bierce would write about. By describing the biblical holiday and suddenly substituting what the reader thinks will be Jesus for the easter bunny, I’m creating irony. I also exaggerate the absurdity of the rabbit who lays eggs by describing him as “a young rabbit with an egg fetish”.

  18. Ridicule - the subjection of someone or something to mockery and derision.

    My Definition: The method of telling someone close to you how much you really enjoy their company.

    In my definition of ridicule I poke and prod at our society and how others communicate amongst each other. Today it is accustom to hear people swear meaninglessly at each other in a joking way. So what i've done with that custom is take a word that usually means to hurt someone and make that into a satire. With this definition I try to get across the unusualness of this custom. These words are low on a formal scale and if any one of these taboo words were to be directed at someone they would be offended. They should be offended too because the original point of these words were for negative purposes. In a simple definition i'm ridiculing society and how a vast majority choose to communicate with one another.

  19. Real Definition:a precious yellow metallic element, highly malleable and ductile, and not subject to oxidation or corrosion. Symbol: Au; atomic weight: 196.967; atomic number: 79; specific gravity: 19.3 at 20°C.

    Devil's Definition: Gold: A lustrous metal with the strange quality to destroy the minds of men.

    In this definition, I tried to establish satire by exaggerating the effects gold can have on people, given its worth as money, therefore causing many people to go crazy over obtaining it.

  20. Degree- a $250,000 piece of paper granting one the power to wait tables

    Degree- an academic award conferred by a university or college on successful completion of a course

    In my definition I try to take attention away from the prestige usually associated with a degree, and divert it to a harsh reality. I make the point that in reality a degree is merely an expensive (usually) piece of paper that lacks the ability to guarantee a career or decent income. It used to be that a degree guaranteed one a steady job and a comfortable income, but in today’s bleak economy that guarantee has all but evaporated. If you do not find a job, you might wait tables just to put a roof over your head. I satirized the standard definition by understating “an academic award” as an expensive piece of paper. I then used sarcasm: “granting one the power” to mock the fact that a degree grants you no power whatsoever. Anyone can wait tables, so if you are granted the power to do so, you possess no power at all. My definition can also be viewed as ironic, because when one hears the words “granting the power to…” , the phrase is usually completed with a great privilege or authority. When it turns out to be the power to wait tables, that expectation is crushed.

  21. Politician: someone who fabricates the future and then lies about it, some one slightly below Satan.

    1. a person who is active in party politics.

    2. The point i am trying to make is that politicians are evil and lairs. This is funny is because not all politicians are like this, and is over the top. A real politician is trying to rule or help rule a county but in america they are not doing their job right. i am pointing out the corruption within the government and the way most people see the government.

  22. Paradise: a place you never want to leave but are never able to stay.

    real definition:a state of complete happiness.

    The definition for paradise was altered in the end because we are never really able to stay happy and it exaggerates this point

  23. Degree- a $250,000 piece of paper granting one the power to wait tables

    Degree- an academic award conferred by a university or college on successful completion of a course

    In my definition I try to take attention away from the prestige usually associated with a degree, and divert it to a harsh reality. I make the point that in reality a degree is merely an expensive (usually) piece of paper that lacks the ability to guarantee a career or decent income. It used to be that a degree guaranteed one a steady job and a comfortable income, but in today’s bleak economy that guarantee has all but evaporated. If you do not find a job, you might wait tables just to put a roof over your head. I satirized the standard definition by understating “an academic award” as an expensive piece of paper. I then used sarcasm: “granting one the power” to mock the fact that a degree grants you no power whatsoever. Anyone can wait tables, so if you are granted the power to do so, you possess no power at all. My definition can also be viewed as ironic, because when one hears the words “granting the power to…” , the phrase is usually completed with a great privilege or authority. When it turns out to be the power to wait tables, that expectation is crushed.

  24. “official” definition: something that is created with imagination and skill and that is beautiful or that expresses important ideas or feelings

    My definition: Quaint freedom and expression. ex. See pile of hair

    The reason my definition is so satirical, is because it plays off of the unexpected. When modern people hear the word or expression “art,” their first inclination is to think that the person that referenced it is going to speak about some beautiful or quirked art piece. Their imagination would wonder to things like pottery, or massive pieces of painted beauty. The first part of my definition actually plays off of this. The second part of my definition is completely true, and that is what makes it satirical. It is unexpected.

  25. nternet- (n.) an electronic communications network that connects computer network and organizational computer facilities around the world.

    Internet-(n.) an electronic networking system which allows oneself to view numerous cat videos while simultaneously wasting years of their life.

    The satirical devices I use in my definition are jargon, formal diction, and abstract ideas. The use of jargon, “electronic networking system”, and formal words such as numerous, and simultaneously heighten the formality of the statement making it seem more important, while the completely abstract comment about cat videos reveals the satire of the definition. The pessimism in the line, “wasting years of their life” echos Bierce’s tone of writing in his Devil’s Dictionary. The point I am trying to make is that the internet, once a source of information and connection between different cultures, has now been degraded to a source of petty entertainment. Instead of creating better relations around the world people instead spend their time watching cat videos.

  26. Smile -real definition- form one's features into a pleased, kind, or amused expression, typically with the corners of the mouth turned up and the front teeth exposed.

    Smile- My definition- 1-The act of lying without the use of words.
    2- Tool used to brush off the unimportant people surrounding you.

    My definition uses inversion and hyperbole to create satire. When you think of a smile or smiling, you would associate those with happy or pleasant feeling. I think everyone knows that polite smile you give when you don't really want to talk to someone or when you are getting annoyed with something. Sometimes we fake a smile for a lot of things because we don't want to say what's really on our minds. My definition is the unsaid but well thought behind some smiles.

  27. Love: A condition of the heart that leaves you blind and eludes you into the darkness of lies, cured only by a reality shock, that will leave you feeling stupid.

    Love:an intense feeling of deep affection.

    I tired to capture the typical teenage love, where you refuse to see the truth because you want everything to be alright, and then something happens that you can't turn your back to it any more, a reality shock. At first your heartbroken, but then you realize it was not meant to be and ow stupid you were. I used a register connecting love to a medical condition and hyperboles.

  28. Charity:generous actions or donations to aid the poor, ill, or helpless
    My Definition: Charity: The giving of money to large corporations who only help themselves
    I tried to exploit the evil of big business in my definition. Big charities that make a profit are unjust all the money earned should be going to the cause and not into the CEO's pocket. It is not charitable when the people running the charities do not care about the less fortunate and mainly focus how they can fill their pockets with the green paper that rules the world.

  29. standard definition
    Teenager: n. a person between the ages of 13 and 19; an adolescent
    my definition
    Teenager: n. years in a persons life filled with youthful glory and indecisive loathing
    In my definition i was targeting people who look back on high school and think it was their "glory days" or "best years of my life" when in reality it is the most difficult time in a persons life.

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  31. Glasses
    Web: a pair of lenses set in a frame resting on the nose and ears, used to correct or assist defective eyesight or protect the eyes.

    Satirical: a way to reassure yourself that your cynical and disgusted view of humanity is a prescription unique to yourself.

    In this cynical definition, I am criticizing the way we view the world. I am not so much criticizing glasses, the tangible object, but the way a "lens" acts in our mind. Lenses can be foggy, they can cloud our perspective and judgement and just like glasses change the wearer's view, our opinions cloud our judgement of the world. We think that our perspective or "prescription" is so unique to ourselves but in reality, so many other people see things in the same light as you do. We reassure ourselves that our perspective is right but sometimes people are wearing the "wrong prescription" and their glasses are not helping them but creating a facade to our scholarly judgement.

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