American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition
- n. The use of words to express something different from and often opposite to their literal meaning.
- n. An expression or utterance marked by a deliberate contrast between apparent and intended meaning.
- n. A literary style employing such contrasts for humorous or rhetorical effect. See Synonyms at wit1.
- n. Incongruity between what might be expected and what actually occurs: "Hyde noted the irony of Ireland's copying the nation she most hated” ( Richard Kain).
- n. An occurrence, result, or circumstance notable for such incongruity. See Usage Note at ironic.
- n. Dramatic irony.
- n. Socratic irony.
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- Consisting of or resembling iron; also, resembling any of the distinctive qualities of iron.
- n. Simulated ignorance in discussion: a method of exposing an antagonist's ignorance by pretending to desire information or instruction from him. This method of discussion, the Socratic irony, was characteristic of Socrates, with reference to whom the term was first used.
- n. Hence Covert sarcasm; such a use of agreeable or commendatory forms of expression as to convey a meaning opposite to that literally expressed; sarcastic laudation, compliment, or the like.
- adj. Of or pertaining to the metal iron.
- n. A statement that, when taken in context, may actually mean something different from, or the opposite of what is written literally; the use of words expressing something other than their literal intention, notably as a form of humor.
- n. Dramatic irony: a theatrical effect in which the meaning of a situation, or some incongruity in the plot, is understood by the audience, but not by the characters in the play.
- n. Ignorance feigned for the purpose of confounding or provoking an antagonist; Socratic irony.
GNU Webster's 1913
- adj. rare Made or consisting of iron; partaking of iron; iron; ; -- In this sense
ironis the more common term.
- adj. Resembling iron in taste, hardness, or other physical property.
- n. Dissimulation; ignorance feigned for the purpose of confounding or provoking an antagonist.
- n. A sort of humor, ridicule, or light sarcasm, which adopts a mode of speech the meaning of which is contrary to the literal sense of the words.
- n. a trope that involves incongruity between what is expected and what occurs
- n. incongruity between what might be expected and what actually occurs
- n. witty language used to convey insults or scorn
- First attested in 1502. From Latin īrōnīa (perhaps via Middle French ironie), from Ancient Greek εἰρωνεία (eirōneia, "irony, pretext"), from εἴρων (eirōn, "one who feigns ignorance"). (Wiktionary)
- French ironie, from Old French, from Latin īrōnīa, from Greek eirōneia, feigned ignorance, from eirōn, dissembler, probably from eirein, to say; see wer-5 in Indo-European roots. (American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
“It may seem as if Mr. Lear is simply applying the term "irony" to insights that Sigmund Freud discovered a century ago; indeed "A Case for Irony" includes commentaries by a few distinguished thinkers who, in different ways, say as much.”
“The term irony itself is rooted in the Greek eiron, or "a dissembler," or liar.”
“Situational irony is different in that the readers are not aware; the results are unexpected and mocking in relation to what was expected (the usual use of the term irony).”
“You could dignify this with the word irony, but it is just the usual story of politics and hypocrisy.”
“Thats not all, the irony is as a would be customer from same/other banks you will keep getting printed advertisement about new products (Home/Car Loans, FDs, MFs etc.) sealed in a pretty colored envelope posted onto your address every now and then.”
“Well, the irony is the candidates listed are actually doing the party a favor.”
“AH, the RNC whining about being given a taste of it's own $h1t. the irony is astounding. dee”
“Therefore the irony is a 'spa' serving a 'British breakfast', generally composed of sausage, eggs, and beans.”
“I'm sorry but the irony is almost too much to bear!”
“The other irony is the longer I worked at Kinko's, the less likely I was to enjoy actual music.”
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