Does such a thing exist?

I am aware of the irony mark but it appears the backwards question mark symbol doesn't exist in most modern fonts (U+2E2E). That seems to be a good indication of its popularity or relevance, or lack thereof.

I personally use a tilde (~) to denote a sarcastic statement, but I am unsure as to its effectiveness nor can I recall where I learned it.

  • See the top answer here.
    – RegDwigнt
    Commented Jan 31, 2013 at 23:10
  • 9
    What's the point of using irony if you have to point it out to your reader? A good writer knows how to use irony without the patented Eric Idle "Wink, wink. Nod, nod." And a good reader can detect irony without being told that it's there. Reminds me of all the Americans in Tokyo who used to ask the Japanese they knew whether they were friends: They were just too dense to know without being told because US culture isn't filled with subtlety or nuance. "Nobody ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the general public", to paraphrase H. L. Mencken.
    – user21497
    Commented Feb 1, 2013 at 0:21
  • In addition, irony and sarcasm may sometimes be synonyms, but they're not fungible.
    – user21497
    Commented Feb 1, 2013 at 0:23
  • The tilde (~) is sometimes used as a sort of smiley (similar to ;) with a "winking" semicolon. It's supposed to represent a "crooked" smile, or "arched" eyebrows - facial indicators often accompanying sarcastic words. Commented Feb 1, 2013 at 4:48
  • 1
    @user21497 You could say the same thing about an exclamation or question mark. A sarcasm punctuation would be extremely helpful for emails and texting where misinterpreted sarcasm could be bad news in the work environment. Thanks for your insight^.
    – user57402
    Commented Nov 14, 2013 at 20:39

3 Answers 3


There is no punctuation mark I am aware of commonly used to denote sarcasm, but one can use other typographic or orthographic indicators.

One can use italics to signify text that is emphasized differently in speech, e.g.

Did you shut the door?

Well, of course I shut the door. We wouldn't want customers to walk in or anything.

Outside of quoted speech, scare quotes may suffice.

We wish him well in his new career as a “waste disposal technician.”

Scare quotes can set apart sarcastic neologisms or compounds words, which could also be indicated with hyphenation or capitalization.

The new product line reflects a certain any-color-as-long-as-it's-black-ism among the company's designers.

What better way to close the film's contrived plot than with a Beam Me Up Scotty moment?

Wheeeeeeee! Another season of Idol!

In online chats or other informal communication, one could also employ a range of emoticons, text art, or similar visual tropes.

  • 1
    I agree, though I'd add that that only reflects a particular approach to sarcasm or irony, just as with spoken English we'd sometimes stress part of what we say or raise the pitch of our voice, and other times we'd say something "dead pan" with no use of intonation to underline the joke.
    – Jon Hanna
    Commented Feb 1, 2013 at 3:15

While it hasn't exactly gained currency, the sarcastrophe is the name given to punctuation used to indicate sarcasm. The humble caret is used to delimit sarcastic phrases ^like so^. You can imply ^^heavy sarcasm^^ through the use of additional carets.

In some circles, the word sarcastrophe is used to denote sarcasm gone wrong.

Then there's the "sarcmark" (^cool name, eh?^) which is an insipid commercial effort to introduce punctuation for sarcasm.


If you're among geeks, you'll often see some form of closing element borrowed from HTML or BBCode used to denote sarcasm - e.g. [/sarcasm] or < /sarcasm>. There's also /sarcasm, which is a reference to IRC commands that needed to be preceeded with a slash. Even though they look visually similar, the /sarcasm reads to me as an indication that sarcasm is being performed, rather than an indication that sarcasm has concluded (as with the closing elements).

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