There are 2 main definitions of irony in English:

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irony 1

Pronunciation: /ˈīrənē/

noun (plural ironies)

1The expression of one’s meaning by using language that normally signifies the opposite, typically for humorous or emphatic effect: “Don’t go overboard with the gratitude,” he rejoined with heavy irony
More example sentences
  • I suppose that there are people who could fail to notice when I'm deploying irony, exaggerating for humorous effect or just burbling.
  • They do it very quickly, using irony, saying the opposite of what they mean, and using extreme language.
  • But did he know he would use irony to such clever effect even a moment before he began doing so?
1.1A state of affairs or an event that seems deliberately contrary to what one expects and is often amusing as a result: [with clause]: the irony is that I thought he could help me
More example sentences
  • It would be the final irony of this extraordinary affair if the fight were to be cancelled on the grounds that it could be a threat to public order.
  • It's at this point I begin to wonder whether Wayne's post is actually satirical, replete with deliberate ironies I completely missed.
  • There's plenty of irony in seeing one monopoly accuse another monopoly of restricting users' choices.
paradox, incongruity, incongruousness
1.2 (also dramatic or tragic irony) A literary technique, originally used in Greek tragedy, by which the full significance of a character’s words or actions are clear to the audience or reader although unknown to the character.
Example sentences
  • They considered dramatic monologue, dramatic irony, persona as mask, and so on.
  • The novel's tragic irony serves to pique the conscience of the reader, as well as to spotlight Steinbeck's political concerns for the equality and happiness of all members of the human family
  • Schlegel's Romantic irony was a reaction to the systematic thought of Kant.


Early 16th century (also denoting Socratic irony): via Latin from Greek eirōneia 'simulated ignorance', from eirōn 'dissembler'.

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There are 2 main definitions of irony in English:

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irony 2

Pronunciation: /ˈīərnē/


Of or like iron: an irony gray color
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