Words related to satire
*sā-, Proto-Indo-European root meaning "to satisfy."
It is the hypothetical source of/evidence for its existence is provided by: Sanskrit a-sinvan "insatiable;" Greek hadros "thick, bulky;" Latin satis "enough, sufficient;" Old Church Slavonic sytu, Lithuanian sotus "satiated;" Old Irish saith "satiety," sathach "sated;" Old English sæd "sated, full, having had one's fill, weary of."
late 14c., satire, "one of a type of woodland deities part human or animal; demigod or spirit of the air or woods, companion of Bacchus," from Old French satire and directly from Latin satyrus, from Greek satyros, a word of unknown origin. "The etymology of [satyros] is unknown. A number of hypotheses have been proposed, but none of them makes sense ..." [Beekes].
In pre-Roman Greek art, a man-like being with the tail and ears of a horse; the conception of a being part man part goat is due to Roman sculptors, who seem to have assimilated them to the fauns of native mythology. In some English bibles the word is used curiously to translate Hebrew se'irim, a type of hairy monster superstitiously believed to inhabit deserts.
In Middle English the word could mean also a kind of ape supposed to live in Africa or Arabia (late 14c.), after a use of Greek satyros, and the name was later applied by zoologists to the orangutan (1690s). From 1781 as "very lecherous or lascivious person." Related: Satyress.
mid-14c., "fluid or juice of an animal or plant," from Old North French humour "liquid, dampness; (medical) humor" (Old French humor, umor; Modern French humeur), from Latin umor "body fluid" (also humor, by false association with humus "earth"); related to umere "be wet, moist," and to uvescere "become wet" (see humid).
In old medicine, "any of the four body fluids" (blood, phlegm, choler, and melancholy or black bile).
The human body had four humors—blood, phlegm, yellow bile, and black bile—which, in turn, were associated with particular organs. Blood came from the heart, phlegm from the brain, yellow bile from the liver, and black bile from the spleen. Galen and Avicenna attributed certain elemental qualities to each humor. Blood was hot and moist, like air; phlegm was cold and moist, like water; yellow bile was hot and dry, like fire; and black bile was cold and dry, like earth. In effect, the human body was a microcosm of the larger world. [Robert S. Gottfried, "The Black Death," 1983]
Their relative proportions were thought to determine physical condition and state of mind. This gave humor an extended sense of "mood, temporary state of mind" (recorded from 1520s); the sense of "amusing quality, funniness, jocular turn of mind" is first recorded 1680s, probably via sense of "whim, caprice" as determined by state of mind (1560s), which also produced the verb sense of "indulge (someone's) fancy or disposition." Modern French has them as doublets: humeur "disposition, mood, whim;" humour "humor." "The pronunciation of the initial h is only of recent date, and is sometimes omitted ..." [OED].
For aid in distinguishing the various devices that tend to be grouped under "humor," this guide, from Henry W. Fowler ["Modern English Usage," 1926] may be of use:
HUMOR: motive/aim: discovery; province: human nature; method/means: observation; audience: the sympathetic
WIT: motive/aim: throwing light; province: words & ideas; method/means: surprise; audience: the intelligent
SATIRE: motive/aim: amendment; province: morals & manners; method/means: accentuation; audience: the self-satisfied
SARCASM: motive/aim: inflicting pain; province: faults & foibles; method/means: inversion; audience: victim & bystander
INVECTIVE: motive/aim: discredit; province: misconduct; method/means: direct statement; audience: the public
IRONY: motive/aim: exclusiveness; province: statement of facts; method/means: mystification; audience: an inner circle
CYNICISM: motive/aim: self-justification; province: morals; method/means: exposure of nakedness; audience: the respectable
SARDONIC: motive/aim: self-relief; province: adversity; method/means: pessimism; audience: the self
c. 1600, "to write satires," an intransitive sense, now obsolete, from French satiriser, from the noun in French (see satire (n.)). The transitive sense of "assail with satire, expose (someone or something) to censure or ridicule with satiric wit" is by 1630s. As Related: Satirized; satirizing.