poetic justice

poetic justice

noun
an ideal distribution of rewards and punishments such as is common in some poetry and fiction.

Origin:
1720–30

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Collins
World English Dictionary
poetic justice
 
n
fitting retribution; just deserts

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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American Heritage
Idioms & Phrases

poetic justice

An outcome in which virtue is rewarded and evil punished, often in an especially appropriate or ironic manner. For example, It was poetic justice for the known thief to go to jail for the one crime he didn't commit. [Early 1700s]

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
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Encyclopedia Britannica
Encyclopedia

poetic justice

in literature, an outcome in which vice is punished and virtue rewarded, usually in a manner peculiarly or ironically appropriate. The term was coined by the English literary critic Thomas Rymer in the 17th century, when it was believed that a work of literature should uphold moral principles and instruct the reader in correct moral behaviour.

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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