What does irony mean?

Definitions for irony
ˈaɪ rə ni, ˈaɪ ər-irony

Here are all the possible meanings and translations of the word irony.

Princeton's WordNet

  1. sarcasm, irony, satire, caustic remarknoun

    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. ironynoun

    incongruity between what might be expected and what actually occurs

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

  3. ironynoun

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


  1. ironyadjective

    Of or pertaining to the metal iron.

    The food had an irony taste to it.

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

Samuel Johnson's Dictionary

  1. Ironyadjective

    Made of iron; partaking of iron.

    Etymology: from iron.

    The force they are under is real, and that of their fate but imaginary: it is not strange if the irony chains have more solidity than the contemplative. Henry Hammond, Fundamentals.

    Some springs of Hungary, highly impregnated with vitriolick salts, dissolve the body of one metal, suppose iron, put into the spring; and deposite, in lieu of the irony particles carried off, coppery particles. John Woodward, on Fossils.

  2. IRONYnoun

    A mode of speech in which the meaning is contrary to the words: as, Bolingbroke was a holy man.

    Etymology: ironie, Fr. ἰεϱωνεία.

    So grave a body, upon so solemn an occasion, should not deal in irony, or explain their meaning by contraries. Jonathan Swift.

Webster Dictionary

  1. Ironyadjective

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

  2. Ironyadjective

    resembling iron taste, hardness, or other physical property

  3. Ironynoun

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

  4. Ironynoun

    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

  5. Etymology: [L. ironia, Gr. dissimulation, fr. a dissembler in speech, fr. to speak; perh. akin to E. word: cf. F. ironie.]


  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.

Chambers 20th Century Dictionary

  1. Irony

    ī′run-i, n. a mode of speech which enables the speaker to convey his meaning with greater force by means of a contrast between the thought which he evidently designs to express and that which his words properly signify: satire.—adj. Iron′ical, meaning the opposite of what is expressed: satirical.—adv. Iron′ically.—The irony of fate, the perverse malignity of fate. [Fr.,—L. ironia, Gr. eirōneia, dissimulation—eirōn, a dissembler—eirein, to talk.]

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.

Matched Categories

British National Corpus

  1. Nouns Frequency

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

How to pronounce irony?

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  1. Chaldean Numerology

    The numerical value of irony in Chaldean Numerology is: 7

  2. Pythagorean Numerology

    The numerical value of irony in Pythagorean Numerology is: 9

Examples of irony in a Sentence

  1. Daniel Garza:

    The irony here is that the Latino left had criticized the conservative movement for years that they were not doing outreach to the Latino community, now that the conservative movement is doing outreach and engaging in the Latino community on a national scale, they're criticizing us for that too. You can't have it both ways.

  2. Embattled Democratic senator from Minnesota:

    There is some irony in the fact that I am leaving office while a man who has bragged on tape about his history of sexual assault sits in the Oval Office.

  3. Reginald Bolding:

    It’s a sickening irony that he’s doing this by dangling millions of federally provided funds for COVID-19 relief and forcing school districts to choose between the health and safety of kids and educators, or millions in additional funding that Republicans have withheld for years, with the delta variant running rampant and COVID-19 cases among children on the rise, it’s disgusting to put a bounty on spreading this illness to kids and punishing schools that try to operate safely.

  4. Agnes Repplier:

    Humor brings insight and tolerance. Irony brings a deeper and less friendly understanding.

  5. Ahmed Korayem:

    The irony of life is that no one gets out of it alive

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    (of a flowering plant) having two cotyledons in the seed
    • A. dicotyledonous
    • B. repugnant
    • C. inexpiable
    • D. irascible

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