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[ahy-ron-ik] /aɪˈrɒn ɪk/
using words to convey a meaning that is the opposite of its literal meaning; containing or exemplifying irony:
an ironic novel; an ironic remark.
of, relating to, or tending to use irony or mockery; ironical.
coincidental; unexpected:
It was ironic that I was seated next to my ex-husband at the dinner.
Origin of ironic
1620-30; < Late Latin īrōnicus < Greek eirōnikós dissembling, insincere. See irony1, -ic
Related forms
nonironic, adjective
semi-ironic, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for ironic
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Miss Gibbons surveyed it with a smile of ironic appreciation.

    The Real Adventure Henry Kitchell Webster
  • Her mother turned the echo of this phrase into an ironic lament.

    Alice Adams Booth Tarkington
  • That venomous agent of Cauchon accused Jeanne of ironic replies ill suited to a woman.

    How France Built Her Cathedrals Elizabeth Boyle O'Reilly
  • What a subject I have presented to you all these years for the exercise of your ironic faculty!

    A Spirit in Prison Robert Hichens
  • "The beginnings of an understanding," prompted M. Hervart with ironic charity.

    A Virgin Heart Remy de Gourmont
British Dictionary definitions for ironic


of, characterized by, or using irony
Derived Forms
ironicalness, noun
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for ironic

1620s, from Late Latin ironicus, from Greek eironikos "dissembling, putting on a feigned ignorance," from eironeia (see irony). Related: Ironical (1570s); ironically.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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