Parody – Meaning and Synonyms

The word “Parody” [pærədi] can be both a noun and a verb (plural:  parodies).

As a noun, parody refers to a literary or musical passage, text, or work that imitates the characteristic or typical style of another work or of a composer or author in a humorous or satirical way.

Usually, in a parody, the characteristic style of the author or composer is applied to another, inappropriate subject or theme. So a parody is a musical or literary or piece of work that copies, or mimicks, a serious work of art in a rather humorous or satirical way.

We can say, for example, a sentence like “that film is really a parody of what we call the horror film genre.” A parody is usually strong but relatively easy to comprehend and it won’t make your mind go spinning. That’s not the intention of a parody.

Parody refers to the art of writing works as an imitation of the work or style of a particular artist, writer, or genre while including deliberate exaggeration to have a comic effect. A nice example is the following Justin Bieber Parody by Bart Baker (“Sorry” PARODY):

As a verb, “Parody” refers to making parodies (parodying and parodied). In other words, to make a parody of something or somebody, or to produce or make an exaggerated, humorous imitation of a work, artist, writer, or genre.

We can say, for example, “her specialty lies in parodying schoolgirl books and fiction.”

There are several words with similar meanings and synonyms, and there’s also a derived form (adjective) of parody,  parodical.

Other words and synonyms for “parody”

  • apology
  • cartoon
  • caricature
  • burlesque
  • buffoonery
  • copy
  • derision
  • farce
  • jest
  • joke
  • irony
  • lampoon
  • lampoonery
  • misrepresentation
  • mimicry
  • mime
  • mockery
  • mock-heroic
  • pastiche
  • pasquinade
  • pasticcio
  • pappyshow
  • persiflage
  • ridicule
  • rib
  • raillery
  • roast
  • send-up
  • satire
  • skit
  • spoof
  • takeoff
  • travesty
  • piss-take (vulgar slang)

The difference between Parody and Satire

A parody is, by definition, a comedic commentary on a work. A parody requires at all times an imitation of a specific work. Satire, then again, even when it is using a creative piece of work merely as a vehicle to get a message across, includes criticism and commentary about our world in general, not just about that particular creative work.

So we can say that parody is more specific whereas satire is more general by nature. Sure, both parody and satire have some common fundamental elements. Both parody and satire frequently exaggeration to highlight or illuminate the absurdities and/or flaws of a social entity, a figure, or a creative work. There are, however, some key differences between the styles.

The most relevant difference is that parody is at all times based on a specific creative artist, an original work, figure, or genre. As said before, satire generally refers to a broader phenomenon, and a parody is generally considered to be fairer in use than satire.

Both parody and satire are using humor as their basic tool to bring across or effectuate a message. The purpose of parodies is to comment (or criticize) works, authors, or artists that are the subjects of these parodies. Parodies, by definition, are comedic commentaries about works or individuals that require imitations of those works or persons.

The key distinction, however, is that with parodies, the criticism and commentary are fairer used than in satires. Satire can be defined as “Using humor, exaggeration, irony, and/or ridicule to highlight, expose, or criticize people’s ignorance, stupidity, or vices, specifically taken contemporary political issues and/or other topics into consideration.”

So when we compare that definition to the one of a parody, you can clearly see the distinction: “a parody is a literary or musical piece of work that closely imitates the style of a work, author, or artist for comic effect and/or in ridicule.”