Definition of ironic in US English:



  • 1Using or characterized by irony.

    ‘his mouth curved into an ironic smile’
    • ‘Measured anger and ironic humour is perfectly set against cracking beats by the master rap music producer.’
    • ‘In a few moments, Ramon's eyes widened and an ironic little smile passed his lips as he nodded his head slightly.’
    • ‘For Camus, the recognition of absurdity cannot be shrugged off with an ironic smile.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Her latest role is an ironic reflection on her debut, when she played a young girl who falls for an American painter.’
    • ‘It is neatly ironic, but it also exposes the paradox at the heart of this solo show.’
    • ‘It seems strange and spooky and ironic, though it is merely the operation of the law of averages.’
    • ‘There was, I concluded, some reason for ironic pride in this rather mediocre revelation.’
    • ‘Setting the agenda in this way for the arts does, of course, have its ironic side.’
    • ‘As a fan of both ironic clothing and corporate faux grassroots campaigns, I ordered one right away.’
    • ‘That was, if you like, an ironic and paradoxical appreciation of the transgressive.’
    • ‘But perhaps the gods of irony thought that this just made things all the more ironic.’
    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.’
      • ‘And how ironic that a lawyer should be outmanouevred in the legislative process.’
      • ‘How ironic then that some women writers sneer at men who enter therapy's allegedly feminised milieu.’
      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).