ironic

ironic, ironical, ironically
For the adjective, choice between ironic and ironical seems to be determined largely by sentence rhythm. Both words properly mean ‘of the nature of irony’, i.e. implying the opposite of what is literally or normally meant by a word, look, etc.:

• She gave an ironical laugh as she looked at Guy —Olivia Manning, 1977.

In this sentence, ironical shows that the laugh was marking something other than the usual humour. Both words, however, are now increasingly used to mean simply ‘odd, strange, paradoxical’, and the same is true of the corresponding adverb ironically:

• It is paradoxical, ‘ironical’ as people say today, that the constitution should bestow this power on someone who laments constitutionitis in others —Observer, 1987

• It is ironic that such a beautiful orderly house should be the setting of our messy little farce —S. Mason, 1990

• Ironically the bombing of London was a blessing to the youthful generations that followed —I. &. P. Opie, 1969

• Ironically, many modern writers have been nihilistic toward modern culture —Dissent, AmE 2004.

These uses, which are well established despite frequent criticism of them, perhaps contain an echo of the concept of dramatic irony, in which an audience is made aware of an act or circumstance that affects the action on stage (or screen) in a way that is unknown to one or more of the participants in the drama.

Modern English usage. 2014.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Ironic — Single par Alanis Morissette extrait de l’album Jagged Little Pill Sortie 27 février 1996 …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Ironic — «Ironic» Sencillo de Alanis Morissette del álbum Jagged Little Pill Formato CD Single Grabación 1994 Género(s) Post Grunge Pop Rock Duración …   Wikipedia Español

  • Ironic — «Ironic» Сингл Аланис Мориссетт из альбома Jagged Little …   Википедия

  • ironic — IRÓNIC, Ă, ironici, ce, adj. Căruia îi place să facă ironii, să ia în râs; zeflemist, batjocoritor; care conţine, care exprimă o ironie; înţepător. – Din fr. ironique, lat. ironicus. Trimis de gall, 04.01.2008. Sursa: DEX 98  IRÓNIC adj.… …   Dicționar Român

  • ironic — UK [aɪˈrɒnɪk] / US [aɪˈrɑnɪk] or ironical UK [aɪˈrɒnɪk(ə)l] / US [aɪˈrɑnɪk(ə)l] adjective 1) linguistics expressing the opposite of what you really think, especially in order to be humorous an ironic comment an ironic little smile 2) an ironic… …   English dictionary

  • Ironic — I*ron ic, a. Ironical. Sir T. Herbert. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • ironic — adjective cynical, ironical, paradoxical, quizzical, sarcastic, sarcastical, sardonic, satiric, satirical Burton s Legal Thesaurus. William C. Burton. 2006 …   Law dictionary

  • ironic — англ. [айро/ник] ironico ит. [иро/нико] ironique фр. [ирони/к] ironisch нем. [иро/ниш] иронически, насмешливо …   Словарь иностранных музыкальных терминов

  • ironic — 1620s, from L.L. ironicus, from Gk. eironikos dissembling, putting on a feigned ignorance, from eironeia (see IRONY (Cf. irony)). Related: Ironical (1570s); ironically …   Etymology dictionary

  • ironic — satiric, *sarcastic, sardonic Analogous words: biting, cutting, incisive, trenchant: *caustic, mordant, scathing …   New Dictionary of Synonyms

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