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Self-defecating humor: Is this a matter of humility or hygiene?

“My friend has a sense of self-defecating humor,” Barton said (in an online post).


Actually, that sounds kind of gross. It sounds tremendously gross – downright disgusting.

Still, I’m fairly sure Barton wasn’t talking about dung-tossing.

The actual expression is “self-deprecating humor,” and it means using self-critique, inward-pointed sarcasm, and the belittling of oneself. 

Self-deprecating humor smears the speaker, dropping jokes that may aim for a laugh while possibly making the actual person feel like … well, you know.

Maybe that’s not so far off the mark, after all.

But let’s face it. If a person has a tendency towards self-defecating humor, it’s a pretty fair bet someone’s gonna step in it, proverbially or for real. And it ain’t gonna be pretty.

Note: “Self-defecating humor” is also used to refer to jokes that miss the mark, fall flat like a worthless pile of discarded matter, and simply stink.

Adapted from 
vintage/public domain artwork
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