using words to convey a meaning that is the opposite of its literal meaning; containing or exemplifying irony: an ironic novel; an ironic remark.
of, relating to, or tending to use irony or mockery; ironical.
coincidental; unexpected: It was ironic that I was seated next to my ex-husband at the dinner.

Origin of ironic

1620–30; < Late Latin īrōnicus < Greek eirōnikós dissembling, insincere. See irony1, -ic
Related formsnon·i·ron·ic, adjectivesem·i-i·ron·ic, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for ironic

Contemporary Examples of ironic

Historical Examples of ironic

  • The ironic part of it was that, for all that had happened, I was busier all the time.


    Mary Roberts Rinehart

  • Her mother turned the echo of this phrase into an ironic lament.

    Alice Adams

    Booth Tarkington

  • What a subject I have presented to you all these years for the exercise of your ironic faculty!

    A Spirit in Prison

    Robert Hichens

  • Fate, the ironic interloper, had taken a hand in this evil game.

  • Was this the ironic destiny of all ideals too austere for earth, too divine for humanity?

    Audrey Craven

    May Sinclair

British Dictionary definitions for ironic




of, characterized by, or using irony
Derived Formsironicalness, noun
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for ironic

1620s, from Late Latin ironicus, from Greek eironikos "dissembling, putting on a feigned ignorance," from eironeia (see irony). Related: Ironical (1570s); ironically.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper