an·​tiph·​ra·​sis | \ an-ˈti-frə-səs How to pronounce antiphrasis (audio) \
plural antiphrases\ an-​ˈti-​frə-​ˌsēz How to pronounce antiphrasis (audio) \

Definition of antiphrasis

: 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, "pick a name for a celebrity infant at the National Zoo," 17 Nov. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'antiphrasis.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of antiphrasis

1533, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for antiphrasis

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

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Time Traveler for antiphrasis

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The first known use of antiphrasis was in 1533

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Cite this Entry

“Antiphrasis.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 10 May. 2021.

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