satire, term applied to any work of literature or art whose objective is ridicule. It is more easily recognized than defined. From ancient times satirists have shared a common aim: to expose foolishness in all its guises—vanity, hypocrisy, pedantry, idolatry, bigotry, sentimentality—and to effect reform through such exposure. The many diverse forms their statements have taken reflect the origin of the word satire, which is derived from the Latin satura, meaning “dish of mixed fruits,” hence a medley.
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