• Life's Little Ironies
    Life's Little Ironies
  • WordNet 3.6
    • n irony incongruity between what might be expected and what actually occurs "the irony of Ireland's copying the nation she most hated"
    • n irony witty language used to convey insults or scorn "he used sarcasm to upset his opponent","irony is wasted on the stupid","Satire is a sort of glass, wherein beholders do generally discover everybody's face but their own"--Jonathan Swift"
    • n irony a trope that involves incongruity between what is expected and what occurs
    • ***
Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
  • Interesting fact: In a stroke of irony, the maximum security prison in St. Albans, Vermont, was responsible in 1996 for sending out public relations brochures enticing tourists to visit Vermont.
    • Irony A sort of humor, ridicule, or light sarcasm, which adopts a mode of speech the meaning of which is contrary to the literal sense of the words.
    • Irony Dissimulation; ignorance feigned for the purpose of confounding or provoking an antagonist.
    • Irony Made or consisting of iron; partaking of iron; iron; as, irony chains; irony particles; -- In this sense iron is the more common term.
    • Irony Resembling iron in taste, hardness, or other physical property.
    • ***
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
    • irony Consisting of or resembling iron; also, resembling any of the distinctive qualities of iron.
    • n irony Simulated ignorance in discussion: a method of exposing an antagonist's ignorance by pretending to desire information or instruction from him. This method of discussion, the Socratic irony, was characteristic of Socrates, with reference to whom the term was first used.
    • n irony Hence Covert sarcasm; such a use of agreeable or commendatory forms of expression as to convey a meaning opposite to that literally expressed; sarcastic laudation, compliment, or the like.
    • ***
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
    • adj Irony made, consisting, or partaking of iron: like iron: hard
    • n Irony ī′run-i a mode of speech which enables the speaker to convey his meaning with greater force by means of a contrast between the thought which he evidently designs to express and that which his words properly signify: satire
    • ***


  • Samuel Butler
    “Neither irony or sarcasm is argument.”
  • Lionel Trilling
    “Probably it is impossible for humor to be ever a revolutionary weapon. Candide can do little more than generate irony.”
  • Anatole France
    “Irony is the gaiety of reflection and the joy of wisdom.”
  • Agnes Repplier
    “Humor brings insight and tolerance. Irony brings a deeper and less friendly understanding.”
  • Friedrich Schlegel
    “Irony is the form of paradox. Paradox is what is good and great at the same time.”
  • John Weiss
    John Weiss
    “Irony is jesting behind hidden gravity.”


Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
L. ironia, Gr. dissimulation, fr. a dissembler in speech, fr. to speak; perh. akin to E. word,: cf. F. ironie,
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
Fr.,—L. ironia, Gr. eirōneia, dissimulation—eirōn, a dissembler—eirein, to talk.


In literature:

The appearance of irony.
"The Flourishing of Romance and the Rise of Allegory" by George Saintsbury
His face was Mephistophelian, his voice edged with irony.
"The Trail of '98" by Robert W. Service
But a subtle spirit of irony pervaded it all.
"The Lure of the Mask" by Harold MacGrath
Under the continual impact of his irony her faiths and understandings had slowly deserted her.
"Erik Dorn" by Ben Hecht
Irony is the very air that they breathe.
"Appreciations and Criticisms of the Works of Charles Dickens" by G. K. Chesterton
How is the irony brought out by the voice?
"The Ontario High School Reader" by A.E. Marty
But I have observed that there is an unconscious irony in most disclaimers of this nature.
"Evolution, Old & New" by Samuel Butler
And all this, with considerable irony, was placed almost in the shadow of the cathedral towers.
"The Bishop's Secret" by Fergus Hume
He was honest in it, but the crowd took it as irony, and amid their laughter Jud and Billy slipped away.
"The Bishop of Cottontown" by John Trotwood Moore
Irony, bitterness, harsh, inflexible purpose.
"The Heart of Unaga" by Ridgwell Cullum
As she realised the profound irony of the position, a blackness of misery fell upon Katherine.
"The History of Sir Richard Calmady" by Lucas Malet
Please, please, do not imagine there is any irony in my congratulations.
"The Melting-Pot" by Israel Zangwill
Irony was not to be wanting, comedy claimed her accustomed share.
"The King's Mirror" by Anthony Hope
It is useful in chastising follies and vices; but as a rule ironic touches are to be preferred to continuous irony.
"Elementary Guide to Literary Criticism" by F. V. N. Painter
Needless to say," said the colonel with a touch of irony, "he failed.
"Anything You Can Do ..." by Gordon Randall Garrett
There is something of pity, something of irony, in the view which he takes of the joyless lot of the great ones of the earth.
"A History of French Literature" by Edward Dowden
The same irony mingled with the same bitterness returned to him, and the elder brother's attitude became once more temporarily difficult.
"Robert Elsmere" by Mrs. Humphry Ward
Oh, the bitter mockery, the terrible irony of it!
"The Day of Judgment" by Joseph Hocking
Then he laughs with a beautiful irony at the pretensions of the accuser.
"The Life of Cicero" by Anthony Trollope
And that name, Grandpapa had explained to him with gentle irony, was altogether a mistake.
"Shaman" by Robert Shea

In poetry:

Of sorrow--yet their tones release
A harmony of larger hours
From easy epochs long at peace
Amid an irony of flowers.
"Carolina Spring Song" by William Hervey Allen Jr
Her grave, sweet haughtiness
Pleaseth me, and in like wise
Her quiet ironies.
Others are beautiful, none more, some less.
"Au Salon" by Ezra Pound
The glow of health upon thy cheek,
The youthful ardor in thy gait,
Appear to him, so frail and weak,
The bitter irony of Fate.
"On The Promenade" by John Lawson Stoddard
The stranger, smiling, with a little leaven
Of irony, said, “Yea,
But there it shall not be. With me in Heaven
You’ll spend your Christmas Day.”
"His Mate" by Victor James Daley
Shall a mere shepherd provide the cure of kings?
Heaven itself delights in ironies such
As this, in which a boy's fingers would touch
…….Pythagorean strings
"Saul And David" by Anthony Hecht
Boanerges Blitzen argued therefore — "I,
With the selfsame weapon, can attain as high."
Only he did not possess when he made the trial,
Wicked wit of C-lv-n, irony of L—l.
"The Man Who Could Write" by Rudyard Kipling

In news:

The irony was you admired Urlacher's honesty.
It is a strange irony that tea partiers embrace the founders and, at the same time, condemn the government that the founders knew was necessary.
If there isn't irony in that.
The irony wasn't lost on Geno Hayes .
NORMAN — Is this irony.
Here's this week's early winner for the cheap irony award in the great journalism layoff sweepstakes, courtesy of the Washington Post.
The irony is so thick, you could cut it with a knife.
Oh, the ironies of life.
They were big, juicy, not too fatty, not too saucy—and definitely something that could be enjoyed without irony .
Nov 20, 2012 — A recent article argued that irony dominates youth culture today, but "Thrift Store," a rising hit by Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, shows how misplaced that worry may be.
A recent article argued that irony dominates youth culture today, but "Thrift Store," a rising hit by Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, shows how misplaced that worry may be.
Princeton professor Christy Wampole, the latest cultural reactionary to make a splash with a screed against arts-driven youth culture, might say I have an irony problem.
In one of the many ironies of the healthcare reform debate, several governors are citing the defense of state sovereignty as a reason why they won't build health insurance exchanges.
TOMS RIVER — Deborah Ciullo found irony among the ruined possessions in her home.
Deborah Ciullo found irony among the ruined possessions in her home.

In science:

The situation, comprehensibly, led Soares (2004a) to use irony on the whole issue, in an attempt to bend the bow to the opposite direction, eventually reaching a state of reasonable equilibrium.
The Aleph Cosmological Principle
There is considerable irony here; Einstein disliked Quantum Mechanics for its apparent disregard for Objective Reality (indeterminacy and the measurement problem).
Secure Quantum Communication and Superluminal Signalling on the Bell Channel
It is not clear to the author whether the natural appearance of a light–cone second–quantized field theory of strings from matrix theory represents more than a delicious irony.
On Second-Quantized Open Superstring Theory
This is related to the irony of the fact that LSND is an active flavor appearance experiment, showing ¯νµ → ¯νe oscillations, but its solution has to involve an almost entirely sterile neutrino, while the other experiments remain unaffected by the presence of the sterile state.
Theory of Neutrinos: A White Paper
In one of the outstanding ironies in the history of observational cosmology, Hubble, even in his last years, expressed doubts about the reality of the expansion.
The Tolman Surface Brightness Test for the Reality of the Expansion. V. Provenance of the Test and a New Representation of the Data for Three Remote HST Galaxy Clusters
The irony of the new Solar system is that it is precisely these throw-away “Other” ob jects which have provided much of the scientific excitement and sense of renewal in our field.
Icy Bodies in the New Solar System
The irony in the derivatives discounting part ii: The crisis.
Two Curves, One Price: Pricing & Hedging Interest Rate Derivatives Decoupling Forwarding and Discounting Yield Curves
The irony of this story is that such a problem is the consequence of what has been considered to be the main advantage of the decoherence program: its open-system perspective.
Decoherence as a relative phenomenon: a generalization of the spin-bath model