variants: also ironical

Synonyms & Antonyms of ironic

marked by an often negative or mocking form of wit in which words are used to express something different to their literal meaning
  • a book written in an ironic style
  • an ironic sense of humor

Synonyms & Near Synonyms for ironic

Antonyms & Near Antonyms for ironic

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Frequently Asked Questions About ironic

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

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Time Traveler for ironic

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The first known use of ironic was in 1576

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Thesaurus Entries Near ironic




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Cite this Entry

“Ironic.” Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 23 Oct. 2021.

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More from Merriam-Webster on ironic

Nglish: Translation of ironic for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of ironic for Arabic Speakers


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