Definitions for ironyˈaɪ rə ni, ˈaɪ ər-

This page provides all possible meanings and translations of the word irony

Random House Webster's College Dictionary

i•ro•ny*ˈaɪ rə ni, ˈaɪ ər-(n.)(pl.)-nies.

  1. the use of words to convey a meaning that is the opposite of its literal meaning.

    Category: Common Vocabulary

  2. Category: Rhetoric

    Ref: Socratic irony.

  3. Category: Literature

    Ref: dramatic irony.

  4. an outcome of events contrary to what was, or might have been, expected.

  5. the incongruity of this.

  6. an objectively sardonic style of speech or writing.

  7. an objectively or humorously sardonic utterance, disposition, quality, etc.

* Syn: irony , satire , sarcasm indicate mockery of a person or thing. irony is exhibited in the organization or structure of either language or literary material. It indirectly presents a contradiction between an action or expression and the context in which it occurs. One thing is said and its opposite implied, as in “Beautiful weather, isn't it?” said when it is raining. Ironic literature exploits the contrast between an ideal and an actual condition, as when events turn out contrary to expectations. satire , also a literary and rhetorical form, is the use of ridicule in exposing human vice and folly. Jonathan Swift wrote social and political satires. sarcasm is a harsh and cutting type of humor. Its distinctive quality is present in the spoken word; it is manifested chiefly by vocal inflection. Sarcastic language may have the form of irony, as in “What a fine musician you turned out to be!”, or it may be a direct statement, as in “You couldn't play one piece correctly if you had two assistants!”

Origin of irony:

1495–1505; < L īrōnīa < Gk eirōneía feigned ignorance, false modesty, der. of eírōn one who hides his or her true knowledge or capabilities

Princeton's WordNet

  1. sarcasm, irony, satire, caustic remark(noun)

    witty language used to convey insults or scorn

    "he used sarcasm to upset his opponent"; "irony is wasted on the stupid"; "Satire is a sort of glass, wherein beholders do generally discover everybody's face but their own"--Jonathan Swift

  2. irony(noun)

    incongruity between what might be expected and what actually occurs

    "the irony of Ireland's copying the nation she most hated"

  3. irony(noun)

    a trope that involves incongruity between what is expected and what occurs

Kernerman English Learner's Dictionary

  1. irony(noun)ˈaɪ rə ni, ˈaɪ ər-

    saying the opposite of what you mean in order to be funny

    He uses irony a lot in his act.

  2. ironyˈaɪ rə ni, ˈaɪ ər-

    the strangeness of a situation that is very different from what you expect, or the situation itself

    life's little ironies; the irony of the situation


  1. irony(Adjective)

    Of or pertaining to the metal iron.

    The food had an irony taste to it.

  2. Origin: First attested in 1502. From ironia (perhaps via ironie), from εἰρωνεία, from εἴρων.

Webster Dictionary

  1. Irony(adj)

    made or consisting of iron; partaking of iron; iron; as, irony chains; irony particles

  2. Irony(adj)

    resembling iron taste, hardness, or other physical property

  3. Irony(noun)

    dissimulation; ignorance feigned for the purpose of confounding or provoking an antagonist

  4. Irony(noun)

    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


  1. Irony

    Irony, in its broadest sense, is a rhetorical device, literary technique, or event characterized by an incongruity, or contrast, between reality and appearance. The term may be further defined into several categories, among which are: verbal, dramatic, and situational. Verbal, dramatic, and situational irony are often used for emphasis in the assertion of a truth. The ironic form of simile, used in sarcasm, and some forms of litotes emphasize one's meaning by the deliberate use of language which states the opposite of the truth — or drastically and obviously understates a factual connection. Other forms include dialectic and practical, as identified by Thirlwall.

The Nuttall Encyclopedia

  1. Irony

    is a subtle figure of speech in which, while one thing is said, some indication serves to show that quite the opposite is meant; thus apparent praise becomes severe condemnation or ridicule; practical irony is evinced in ostensibly furthering some one's hopes and wishes while really leading him to his overthrow. Life and history are full of irony in the contrast between ambitions and their realisation.

The Roycroft Dictionary

  1. irony

    The cactus-plant that sprouts over the tomb of our dead illusions.

British National Corpus

  1. Nouns Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'irony' in Nouns Frequency: #2984

Translations for irony

Kernerman English Multilingual Dictionary


a form of deliberate mockery in which one says the opposite of what is obviously true.

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