Definition of ironic in US English:



  • 1Using or characterized by irony.

    ‘his mouth curved into an ironic smile’
    • ‘In a few moments, Ramon's eyes widened and an ironic little smile passed his lips as he nodded his head slightly.’
    • ‘Setting the agenda in this way for the arts does, of course, have its ironic side.’
    • ‘Measured anger and ironic humour is perfectly set against cracking beats by the master rap music producer.’
    • ‘There was, I concluded, some reason for ironic pride in this rather mediocre revelation.’
    • ‘Her latest role is an ironic reflection on her debut, when she played a young girl who falls for an American painter.’
    • ‘It seems strange and spooky and ironic, though it is merely the operation of the law of averages.’
    • ‘But perhaps the gods of irony thought that this just made things all the more ironic.’
    • ‘It was just a tiny bit too ironic for it not to make me smile, and when I did he felt it and pulled away.’
    • ‘The most ironic thing about irony is how many people just don't get it.’
    • ‘As a fan of both ironic clothing and corporate faux grassroots campaigns, I ordered one right away.’
    • ‘It is neatly ironic, but it also exposes the paradox at the heart of this solo show.’
    • ‘For Camus, the recognition of absurdity cannot be shrugged off with an ironic smile.’
    • ‘That was, if you like, an ironic and paradoxical appreciation of the transgressive.’
    sarcastic, sardonic, dry, caustic, sharp, stinging, scathing, acerbic, acid, bitter, trenchant, mordant, cynical
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    1. 1.1 Happening in the opposite way to what is expected, and typically causing wry amusement because of this.
      with clause ‘it was ironic that now that everybody had plenty of money for food, they couldn't obtain it because everything was rationed’
      • ‘More ironic is that an anti-theist institute should bear all the hallmarks of a religion or ideology.’
      • ‘How ironic then that some women writers sneer at men who enter therapy's allegedly feminised milieu.’
      • ‘And how ironic that a lawyer should be outmanouevred in the legislative process.’
      paradoxical, incongruous, odd, strange, weird, peculiar, unexpected
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Mid 17th century: from French ironique or late Latin ironicus, from Greek eirōnikos ‘dissembling, feigning ignorance’, from eirōneia (see irony).