Are sneer quotes the same exact thing as scare quotes? I believe they're synonymous but am unsure.

1 Answer 1


According to the extensive article at Wikipedia, they're a subset:

Scare quotes are quotation marks placed around a word or phrase to imply that it may not signify its apparent meaning or that it is not necessarily the way the quoting person would express its concept....


The effect of using scare quotes is often similar to prepending a skeptical modifier such as so-called or alleged to label the quoted word or phrase, to indicate scorn, sarcasm, or irony. Scare quotes may be used to express disagreement with the original speaker's intended meaning without actually establishing grounds for disagreement or disdain, or without even explicitly acknowledging it. In this type of usage, they are sometimes called "sneer quotes".


Liberal: We've heard about these conservatives and their tax "relief".

Conservative: The liberals have proposed yet another form of "common-sense" gun control.

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