Examples of irony in a Sentence
- The great irony of human intelligence is that the only species on Earth capable of reason, complex-problem solving, long-term planning and consciousness understands so little about the organ that makes it all possible—the brain. —Amanda Bower, Time, 20 Aug. 2001
- The great irony of anthracite is that, tough as it is to light, once you get it lit it's nearly impossible to put out. —Bill Bryson, A Walk in the Woods, 1999
- And the irony is obvious: those who once had been the victims of separatism, who had sacrificed so dearly to overcome their being at the margins, would later create an ethos of their own separatism. —Shelby Steele, Harper's, July 1992
a writer known for her clever use of irony
“What a beautiful view,” he said, his voice dripping with irony, as he looked out the window at the alley.
She described her vacation with heavy irony as “an educational experience.”
It was a tragic irony that he made himself sick by worrying so much about his health.
That's just one of life's little ironies.
The irony of the situation was apparent to everyone.
He has a strong sense of irony.
Recent Examples of irony from the Web
The irony is that Ivory Coast, the world’s biggest cocoa producer, has traditionally attracted migrants, not provided them: a quarter of the population was born elsewhere, in another West African country.
That history adds a touch of irony to the new power the board was given over Medicaid in the state's latest budget.
The dialogue frequently falls out of the mouths of the actors like blocks of wooden irony.
Finally, there's the patent claims, which could become the closest call and may have a whiff of irony given how much Hollywood pursues technology companies for secondary liability on the piracy front.
In a young century already rich in ironies, freedom’s suicide in Central Europe deserves pride of place.
And, a double irony, the American embargo's as well.
With another project down in Matera, Kihlgren is considered a savior of Italy’s crumbling ghost towns—an irony given that his family’s fortune was made in cement, which has destroyed the character of so much of the country.
Share Reply Featured Permalink Close Embed this note by copying and pasting the code into your site Close Luke Kawa 11 Oct 2017 Oh, the irony!
These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'irony.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.
Considerable thought is given to what events constitute “true” irony, and the dictionary is often called upon to supply an answer. Here are the facts about how the word irony is used.
Irony has two formal uses that are not as common in general prose as its more casual uses. One refers to Socratic irony—a method of revealing an opponent’s ignorance by pretending to be ignorant yourself and asking probing questions. The other refers to dramatic irony or tragic irony—an incongruity between the situation in a drama and the words used by the characters that only the audience can see. Socratic irony is a tool used in debating; dramatic irony is what happens when the audience realizes that Romeo and Juliet’s plans will go awry.
The third, and debated, use of irony regards what’s called situational irony. Situational irony involves a striking reversal of what is expected or intended: a person sidesteps a pothole to avoid injury and in doing so steps into another pothole and injures themselves. Critics claim the word irony and ironic as they are generally used (as in, “Isn’t it ironic that you called just as I was planning to call you?”) can only apply to situational irony, and uses like the one above are more properly called coincidence.
The historical record shows that irony and ironic have been used imprecisely for almost 100 years at least, and often to refer to coincidence. This 1939 quote from F. Scott Fitzgerald is typical: "It is an ironic thought that the last picture job I took—against my better judgment—yielded me five thousand dollars five hundred and cost over four thousand in medical attention." Is this true situational irony? It’s debatable.
The word irony has come to be applied to events that are merely curious or coincidental, and while some feel this is an incorrect use of the word, it is merely a new one.
Origin and Etymology of irony
First Known Use: 1502See Words from the same year
Synonym Discussion of irony
- a playful wit
- a sense of humor
- the irony of the title
- given to heartless sarcasm
- a satire on the Congress
- a dinner guest noted for repartee
IRONY Defined for English Language Learners
IRONY Defined for Kids
Seen and Heard
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