Synonyms of irony

a situation that is strange or funny because things happen in a way that seems to be the opposite of what is expected
  • We got a good chuckle seeing their tow truck being towed away, but our friends failed to see the irony.

Synonyms & Near Synonyms for irony

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Frequently Asked Questions About irony

How does the noun irony differ from other similar words?

Some common synonyms of irony are humor, repartee, sarcasm, satire, and wit. While all these words mean "a mode of expression intended to arouse amusement," irony applies to a manner of expression in which the intended meaning is the opposite of what is seemingly expressed.

the irony of the title

When can humor be used instead of irony?

While the synonyms humor and irony are close in meaning, humor implies an ability to perceive the ludicrous, the comical, and the absurd in human life and to express these usually without bitterness.

a sense of humor

When is it sensible to use repartee instead of irony?

The words repartee and irony are synonyms, but do differ in nuance. Specifically, repartee implies the power of answering quickly, pointedly, or wittily.

a dinner guest noted for repartee

Where would sarcasm be a reasonable alternative to irony?

The meanings of sarcasm and irony largely overlap; however, sarcasm applies to expression frequently in the form of irony that is intended to cut or wound.

given to heartless sarcasm

When is satire a more appropriate choice than irony?

The synonyms satire and irony are sometimes interchangeable, but satire applies to writing that exposes or ridicules conduct, doctrines, or institutions either by direct criticism or more often through irony, parody, or caricature.

a satire on the Congress

When could wit be used to replace irony?

While in some cases nearly identical to irony, wit suggests the power to evoke laughter by remarks showing verbal felicity or ingenuity and swift perception especially of the incongruous.

a playful wit

Learn More About irony

Time Traveler for irony

Time Traveler

The first known use of irony was in 1502

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Thesaurus Entries Near irony

ironstone chinas



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Cite this Entry

“Irony.” Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 5 Oct. 2022.

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More from Merriam-Webster on irony

Nglish: Translation of irony for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of irony for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about irony


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