Jun 11, 2013

Wordology, Ironic

Often the word 'ironic' is much misused to remark on a coincidence, such as, “This is the third time today we have run into each other. How ironic.” It is also mistakenly used to describe something out of the ordinary or unusual, “Yesterday was a beautiful, warm day in November. Truly ironic.” It is also wrongly used to emphasize something interesting. For example, “Ironically, it was the best movie I have seen all year.”

A true ironic remark conveys a meaning that is the opposite of its literal meaning, so in an ironic statement one thing is said, while another thing is meant. For example, it would be irony on a  nasty stormy to say, “What wonderful weather.” If you were suffering from a bad cold you might say, “I feel like a million dollars.” These are both examples of verbal irony.

Irony is also often confused with sarcasm. The two are similar, but in sarcasm there is an intent to ridicule or mock, often harshly or crudely.

Dramatic irony is inherent in speeches or a drama and is understood by the audience, but not grasped by the characters in the play.

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