1570s, sarcasmus, "a biting taunt or gibe, a satirical remark or expression," from Late Latin sarcasmus, from late Greek sarkasmos "a sneer, jest, taunt, mockery," from sarkazein "to speak bitterly, sneer," literally "to strip off the flesh" (like dogs), from sarx (genitive sarkos) "flesh," properly "piece of meat" (see sarco-). The modern form of the English word is from 1610s. "Now usually in a generalized sense: sarcastic language; sarcastic meaning or purpose" [OED]. Also see humor (n.).
The essential thing about sarcasm is its cutting edge ; it therefore is intensely concentrated, lying in a sentence or a phrase ; it is used to scourge the follies or foibles or vices of men, but has little of reformatory purpose. Satire is more elaborate than sarcasm, is not necessarily bitter, and has, presumably, some aim at the reformation of that which is satirized. [Century Dictionary]
1650s, "fleshy excrescence," Medical Latin, from Latinized form of Greek sarkoma "fleshy substance" (Galen), from sarkoun "to produce flesh, grow fleshy," from sarx (genitive sarkos) "flesh" (see sarcasm) + -oma. Meaning "harmful tumor of the connective tissue," more or less malignant, is from 1804 (Abernethy). Related: Sarcomatous.
c. 1600, "type of stone used by the ancients for making coffins," from Latin sarcophagus, from Greek sarkophagos (lithos) "limestone used for coffins;" the adjective means "flesh-eating," a reference to the supposed action of this type of limestone (quarried near Assos in Troas, hence the Latin lapis Assius) in quickly decomposing bodies.
The "stone" sense was the earliest in English; the meaning "stone coffin," often one with inscriptions or decorative carvings is by 1705. The Latin word, shortened in Vulgar Latin to *sarcus, is the source of French cercueil, German Sarg "coffin," Dutch zerk "tombstone."
"legislator," 1620s, from Greek Solon, name of early lawgiver of Athens, one of the seven sages. Often, especially in U.S., applied (with perhaps a whiff of sarcasm) by journalists to Congressmen, township supervisors, etc. It also is a useful short headline word.
"humorously disagreeable person," 1560s, from Latinized form of Greek Mōmos, name of the god of ridicule and sarcasm (literally "blame, ridicule, disgrace," a word of unknown origin); also used in English as personification of fault-finding and captious criticism.
1550s, "make return in kind" (especially of an injury), from Old French retort and directly from Latin retortus, past participle of retorquere "turn back, twist back, throw back," from re- "back" (see re-) + torquere "to twist" (from PIE root *terkw- "to twist"). Applied to exchanges of jest or sarcasm by c. 1600, hence "say or utter sharply and aggressively in reply" (1620s). Related: Retorted; retorting.