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Definition of "irony" []

  • The use of words to express something different from and often opposite to their literal meaning. (noun)
  • An expression or utterance marked by a deliberate contrast between apparent and intended meaning. (noun)
  • A literary style employing such contrasts for humorous or rhetorical effect. See Synonyms at wit1. (noun)
  • 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). (noun)
  • An occurrence, result, or circumstance notable for such incongruity. See Usage Note at ironic. (noun)

American Heritage(R) Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright (c) 2011 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Use "irony" in a sentence
  • "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)."