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irony (noun) the use of words that seem to mean the opposite of what they actually mean; a situation which is strange and opposite of what you have expected and is therefore amusing.

The use of words which appear to mean the opposite of what they mean is irony. 'You are very clever indeed! Your scoring so low is a real achievement!' This is an example of irony. Also, the strange and amusing aspect of a situation that is very different from what you expect is also an irony. It is a tragic irony that King Lear trusted the very people, his two elder daughters, who were to ruin him. The irony in the situation is that the people who he trusted actually proved ungrateful.

  • While all the time seeming to praise the government, the speaker was ridiculing it as inefficient. He was a master of irony.
  • The best example of an irony is the wife selling her hair to buy a gold strap for her husband's watch and the husband selling away his watch to buy gold clips for her tresses. Neither could use what the other presented them.
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Last Modified : 11-May 2009
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