poetic justice


: an outcome in which vice is punished and virtue rewarded usually in a manner peculiarly or ironically appropriate

Example Sentences

After the way he treated his staff, it was poetic justice that he lost his job.
Recent Examples on the Web The timing was poetic justice. Robert Zafft, Forbes, 5 July 2021 As a Jewish reader, I’m tempted to interpret this somehow as a kind of poetic justice, with Monis being posthumously punished for abandoning our faith. Ira Stoll, WSJ, 28 Apr. 2022 Perhaps the Biden administration saw a certain poetic justice in choosing today to implement a new classified policy institutionalizing strict limits on counterterrorism drone strikes out of warzones. Dave Deptula, Forbes, 8 Oct. 2022 The Christian Bible receiving similar treatment is a kind of poetic justice. Issac Bailey, CNN, 24 Aug. 2022 If there is no poetic justice, there is a terrible poetic aptness. Merve Emre, The New Yorker, 4 July 2022 Whether or not Sussmann beats the rap, though, there is some poetic justice here. Andrew C. Mccarthy, National Review, 21 May 2022 In an ironic twist of poetic justice, the current availability of vaccines is now thwarted by alarming levels of vaccine hesitancy that portend an uncertain future. David Walcott, Forbes, 17 May 2022 Still not fair, but at least a little poetic justice. Ira Winderman, Sun Sentinel, 27 Apr. 2022 See More

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

Word History

First Known Use

1691, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of poetic justice was in 1691

Dictionary Entries Near poetic justice

Cite this Entry

“Poetic justice.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/poetic%20justice. Accessed 31 May. 2023.

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