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caricature, burlesque, lampoon, mimicry, parody, travesty
Skilled writers and artists who want to poke fun at someone or something have a number of weapons at their disposal. An artist might come up with a caricature, which is a drawing (or written piece) that exaggerates its subject's distinguishing features or peculiarities ( the cartoonist's caricature of the presidential candidate). A parody is similar to a caricature in purpose, but is used of written work, or performances that ridicule an author or performer's work by imitating its language and style for comic effect ( a parody of the scene between Romeo and Juliet). While a parody concentrates on distorting the content of the original work, a travesty retains the subject matter but imitates the style in a grotesque or absurd way ( their version of the Greek tragedy was a travesty). A lampoon is a strongly satirical piece of writing that attacks or ridicules an individual or an institution; it is more commonly used as a verb ( to lampoon the government in a local newspaper). A burlesque is a comic or satiric imitation, often a theatrical one with bawdy overtones, that treats a serious subject lightly or a trivial subject with mock seriousness ( the play was a burlesque of Homer's great epic). Mimicry is something you don't have to be an artist, a writer, or an actor to be good at. Anyone who successfully imitates another person's speech or gestures is a good mimic or impressionist, whether the intent is playful or mocking ( he showed an early talent for mimicry, entertaining his parents with imitations of their friends).