ironic

variants also ironical

Synonym Chooser

How is the word ironic different from other adjectives like it?

Some common synonyms of ironic are sarcastic, sardonic, and satiric. While all these words mean "marked by bitterness and a power or will to cut or sting," ironic implies an attempt to be amusing or provocative by saying usually the opposite of what is meant.

made the ironic observation that the government could always be trusted

When is sarcastic a more appropriate choice than ironic?

The meanings of sarcastic and ironic largely overlap; however, sarcastic implies an intentional inflicting of pain by deriding, taunting, or ridiculing.

a critic known for his sarcastic remarks

When would sardonic be a good substitute for ironic?

The words sardonic and ironic are synonyms, but do differ in nuance. Specifically, sardonic implies scorn, mockery, or derision that is manifested by either verbal or facial expression.

surveyed the scene with a sardonic smile

When is it sensible to use satiric instead of ironic?

In some situations, the words satiric and ironic are roughly equivalent. However, satiric implies that the intent of the ridiculing is censure and reprobation.

a satiric look at contemporary society

Thesaurus Entries Near ironic

Cite this Entry

“Ironic.” Merriam-Webster.com Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/thesaurus/ironic. Accessed 27 Jan. 2023.

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