the use of words to convey a meaning that is the opposite of its literal meaning: the irony of her reply, “How nice!” when I said I had to work all weekend.
a technique of indicating, as through character or plot development, an intention or attitude opposite to that which is actually or ostensibly stated.
(especially in contemporary writing) a manner of organizing a work so as to give full expression to contradictory or complementary impulses, attitudes, etc., especially as a means of indicating detachment from a subject, theme, or emotion.
How to use irony in a sentence
Lynch also pointed out one of the bitter ironies on the nuclear front.Obama’s Nuclear Summit Aimed to Stop Terrorists. Now Putin’s the Issue. | Christopher Dickey, Jamie Dettmer, Nadette De Visser | March 25, 2014 | THE DAILY BEAST
“One of the great ironies is that computer science should be the most mathematical of all the sciences,” Omohundro said.This is What Happens When You Teach Machines the Power of Natural Selection | James Barrat | February 1, 2014 | THE DAILY BEAST
All have failed at grasping its themes, ironies, and allusions.The Great Gatsby, Starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Is a Relentless Assault on the Senses | Marlow Stern | May 8, 2013 | THE DAILY BEAST
His take—and theirs—is surprisingly positive given the setbacks and ugly ironies.Egypt’s ‘Uprising,’ Then and Now: A Talk With Director Frederick Stanton | John Avlon | February 9, 2013 | THE DAILY BEAST
“Running the farm and writing that book woke me up to the ironies of food,” Boycott says.How the London Olympic Games Will Revolutionize Food | Katrina Heron | July 24, 2012 | THE DAILY BEAST
In the end he came to realize that he had achieved that most cruel of all literary ironies, the succs d'estime.Love's Pilgrimage | Upton Sinclair
De Stancy sat down in the stuffy drawing-room, and wondered what other ironies time had in store for him.A Laodicean | Thomas Hardy
Grace wept that night over the saddest of all the ironies of life—a sacrifice which was a mistake and which had no reward.Afterwards | Ian Maclaren
The days of her youth had been too full of the ironies of disappointment.Emily Fox-Seton | Frances Hodgson Burnett
It appears to me one of the ironies of Fate that they should have starved to death for want of a sauce.
British Dictionary definitions for irony (1 of 2)
the humorous or mildly sarcastic use of words to imply the opposite of what they normally mean
an instance of this, used to draw attention to some incongruity or irrationality
British Dictionary definitions for irony (2 of 2)
of, resembling, or containing iron
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
Cultural definitions for irony
The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.