an·​tiph·​ra·​sis an-ˈti-frə-səs How to pronounce antiphrasis (audio)
plural antiphrases an-ˈti-frə-ˌsēz How to pronounce antiphrasis (audio)
: the usually ironic or humorous use of words in senses opposite to the generally accepted meanings (as in "this giant of 3 feet 4 inches")

Examples of antiphrasis in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web And sometimes a name employs what the Greeks called antiphrasis. Washington Post, 17 Nov. 2020

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'antiphrasis.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Late Latin, from Greek, from anti- + phrasis diction — more at phrase

First Known Use

1533, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of antiphrasis was in 1533

Dictionary Entries Near antiphrasis

Cite this Entry

“Antiphrasis.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 4 Mar. 2024.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!