11 Words for Someone Who Doesn’t Understand Sarcasm

Everyone has their faults, and they can range from different things. This article will explore the fault of someone who doesn’t understand sarcasm. We’ll show you some of the best words you can use to refer to these types of people when you meet them.

Words for Someone Who Doesn't Understand Sarcasm

The preferred synonyms are “overliteral,” “oblivious,” and “obtuse.” These all work well when you want to show that someone isn’t picking up on your sarcasm. They might take things too seriously, or they might simply not realize that you are being sarcastic in some way.


“Overliteral” is a solid synonym for this situation. It works well because it shows that someone takes everything far too literally. You need to open your mind up a little bit if you want to understand and accept sarcasm. If you remain literal, you will never fully get it.

The definition of “overliteral,” according to The Merriam-Webster Dictionary, is “literal to an excessive degree.”

  • You’re being too overliteral and taking all of this to heart. You really shouldn’t worry about all the things I’m saying.
  • I think she’s a bit overliteral. She’s having a hard time understanding most of that sarcasm because she doesn’t come across it much.
  • You’re overliteral, and it’s causing you to feel like you’re being mistreated. We’re sorry if you can’t keep up with our humor.


“Oblivious” people don’t know what’s going on at any point around them. This extends to many things, but it also makes it difficult for oblivious people to understand when you might be sarcastic. It’s best to try and help them out because it’s not always their fault.

The definition of “oblivious,” according to The Cambridge Dictionary, is “not conscious of something, especially what is happening around you.”

  • My word, she’s the most oblivious person I’ve ever met. It’s like she can’t understand simple sarcastic jokes when she sees them.
  • Do you think I’m oblivious? I understand sarcasm just as well as the next guy. I really don’t think it’s fair that you’re saying these things.
  • He’s oblivious about all of this! Don’t be mean to him! I just don’t think he realizes what you’re trying to say.


“Obtuse” is a great synonym to show that someone has missed your sarcastic comment. It refers to them being too slow in their reasoning to understand why you might have said something. This can make it hard for them to take sarcasm correctly.

The definition of “obtuse,” according to The Cambridge Dictionary, is “stupid and slow to understand, or unwilling to try to understand.”

  • Don’t be obtuse, Matt. It’s not a good look. You need to start learning what sarcasm is all about before people start laughing at you.
  • I’m a bit too obtuse to understand sarcasm most of the time. I wanted to get that out of the way now before you judge me for it.
  • She’s obtuse in the worst possible ways. I wish she didn’t have to be that way. It’s really grating.


“Unaware” is a simple synonym that works well here. It shows that someone is not aware of your sarcasm. They might take offense to the things you said because they didn’t realize you were saying them in a sarcastic manner.

The definition of “unaware,” according to The Cambridge Dictionary, is “not understanding or realizing something.”

  • You do know that I’m not completely unaware, right? I can pick up on sarcasm when you’re throwing at me like that!
  • They’re both unaware of our humor. I don’t think they’ve ever truly understood the kind of sarcasm we’ve put across to them.
  • You’re unaware of what they’re talking about, aren’t you? I always knew you’d have a difficult time trying to comprehend this stuff.


“Humorless” people have no humor at all. It’s not just sarcasm that they misinterpret. It’s all jokes. They generally don’t like to joke around with people because they lack the common “humor” that most others have.

The definition of “humorless,” according to The Cambridge Dictionary, is “having no humor.”

  • You humorless oaf! How could you think that I was being serious about that? Trust you to be the one to get upset!
  • I think she’s humorless. She never seems to understand the jokes that I put down. I know I’m funny, so she must be wrong.
  • Do you deliberately try and act humorless all the time? You’re one of the most annoying people I’ve ever had the misfortune of meeting.


“Thick” is a great informal synonym to show that someone has a hard time keeping up with sarcasm. It works when you want to show that they are stupid. This usually shows that they are not able to understand complicated ideas like sarcasm or irony.

The definition of “thick,” according to The Cambridge Dictionary, is “stupid.”

  • He’s so thick. I wouldn’t try and explain any of your jokes to him. They’ll only end up going further over his head.
  • Aren’t you a little bit too thick to be here? You never seem to understand anything that we say. I suggest you leave.
  • She might be thick and never understand sarcasm, but I still care for her. I think you should be kinder to her going forward.


“Slow” is another informal way of showing that someone isn’t particularly smart. This helps to show that they have a hard time understanding sarcasm because they do not have the mental capacity to keep up with it.

The definition of “slow,” according to The Cambridge Dictionary, is “a person might be described as slow if they are not very clever and do not understand or notice things quickly.”

  • I know you think I’m slow, but I actually do understand most of the things you’re talking about right now. I’m not that stupid.
  • You’re too slow to fully understand these jokes. Try not to get too offended by most of the things we say, okay?
  • I didn’t mean to come across as slow. I thought you were being serious! I realize that you were only being sarcastic now!


“Dense” people are stupid in their own way. They usually don’t understand sarcasm because they are too slow to realize when someone might have changed their tone. They also don’t notice when sarcasm is appropriate, so they will often overlook it.

The definition of “dense,” according to The Cambridge Dictionary, is “stupid.”

  • You’re so dense it actually hurts my brain! I don’t understand how someone like you has made it this far without assistance.
  • Don’t you think he’s a little too dense to understand most of this? I don’t want to be mean, but I do worry about him.
  • She’s very dense. You would be wise to treat her simply and not use any of your sarcasm while you’re around her.


“Foolish” people don’t understand a lot of things. Sarcasm is just one thing under a much larger umbrella when someone is foolish. It can make it hard to have genuine and intelligent conversations with people if they are foolish.

The definition of “foolish,” according to The Cambridge Dictionary, is “unwise, stupid, or not showing good judgment.”

  • You’re way too foolish to keep up with my pals and me. I’m sorry, but I don’t think there’s a place for you on this team.
  • I thought she was quite foolish. Maybe I was wrong about her, but I don’t think she’ll be able to keep up with our banter.
  • You’re too foolish for your own good. I would watch out if I were you. Sarcasm is meant to be funny, after all.


“Witless” is a great word that shows that someone doesn’t get sarcasm. It’s not all that common today (it is a bit old-fashioned), but it still allows you to show that someone doesn’t have the mental capacity to understand when you’re sarcastic.

The definition of “witless,” according to The Cambridge Dictionary, is “stupid or showing no intelligence.”

  • He’s nothing more than a witless fool. I wouldn’t worry too much about whether he understood your jokes or not.
  • I thought she was only acting witless. It turns out that she genuinely doesn’t understand anything about our jokes.
  • That witless buffoon isn’t going to get away with this. We’ll show him what the true meaning of sarcasm is.


“Tone-deaf” is a good choice to show that someone doesn’t understand something around them. It can relate to the things they say, but it can also relate to things you might say to them. If they don’t understand why you said it, they likely didn’t understand your sarcasm.

The definition of “tone-deaf,” according to The Cambridge Dictionary, is “not understanding how people feel about something, or what is needed in a particular situation.”

  • You’re clearly tone-deaf, but that’s okay. We’ll try and help you understand when we’re sarcastic more often.
  • I didn’t mean to sound so tone-deaf. I thought you were mocking me. I realize it was only sarcasm now.
  • She’s too tone-deaf to keep up with us. I don’t think you should bring her along, to be honest. I just don’t think she’ll get us.