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irony -- as in: verbal irony
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as in: verbal irony Define
saying or writing one thing, while meaning the opposite or something else -- usually as humor or sarcasm
  • She was being ironic when she said she couldn’t wait to see you again.
  • Her voice was dripping with irony as she said, "You look beautiful."
  • "Hope, do you remember me?"
    "How could I forget you?"
    The irony is, I did forget him. Completely.
    Colleen Hoover  --  Hopeless
  • "Yes, ma’am."
    "Polite as always. How was your summer?"
    "You’re the third person who’s asked."
    "Nonanswer. Try again."
    "Hot."
    "Still loquacious." She smiles.
    "Still ironic."
    Katja Millay  --  The Sea of Tranquility

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  • "The President is coming this afternoon. Wouldn’t you like to see him?" ... I was careful to take all irony out of [my voice]. I said, "I would like to, citizen. But I have to go."
    V.S. Naipaul  --  A Bend in the River
  • ...born in 1848, my own grandmother at the age of thirteen possessed two small Negro handmaidens only a little younger than herself, regarding them as beloved chattel all through the years of the Civil War, despite Abraham Lincoln and the articles of emancipation. I say "beloved" with no irony because I’m certain that she did very much love them, and...
    William Styron  --  Sophie’s Choice
  • Married women go to their doctors. Unmarried women do this.
    The man in the drugstore tells me the results are positive. "Congratulations," he says, with disapproving irony.
    Margaret Atwood  --  Cat’s Eye
  • Madge shoots him a look, trying to see if it’s a genuine compliment or if he’s just being ironic.
    Suzanne Collins  --  The Hunger Games
  • Ironic, encouraging, a little funny, but not at anyone’s expense.
    Suzanne Collins  --  Mockingjay
  • I thought you liked it when I was witty and ironic.
    Cassandra Clare  --  City of Bones

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  • The battalion commander perceived the jovial irony and laughed.
    Leo Tolstoy  --  War and Peace
  • (A TRANSLATION:  Himmel = Heaven)

    Whoever named Himmel Street has a healthy sense of irony. Not that it was a living hell. It wasn’t. But it sure wasn’t heaven, either.
    Markus Zusak  --  The Book Thief
  • he remarked in a slightly ironic tone that obviously this was a "delicate topic" and he could enter into the young lady’s feelings, but—and here his voice grew sterner—his duty obliged him to waive considerations of delicacy.
    Albert Camus  --  The Stranger
  • and suddenly Porfiry Petrovitch looked with obvious irony at him, screwing up his eyes and, as it were, winking at him.
    Fyodor Dostoyevsky  --  Crime and Punishment
  • The irony circuits cut in to his voice modulator ... "’All the doors in this spaceship have a cheerful and sunny disposition. It is their pleasure to open for you, and their satisfaction to close again with the knowledge of a job well done.’"
    Douglas Adams  --  The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy
  • "I expect to hear from the others . . ."

    "Of course you will, and from all seven. They’re all loyal Americans."  There was unmistakable irony in his voice now,
    Ralph Ellison  --  Invisible Man
  • "Screams, maybe. Animal howls. Oh, and laughter." She smiled. "And believe me, you don’t want to find out what’s laughing," she said, and added, without a trace of irony, "Sleep tight."
    Micheal Scott  --  The Alchemyst
  • "You’re too kind to us ... If you keep coddling us like this we’ll think you like us."

    Some of the others laughed into their microphones. Ender recognized the irony, of course, and answered with a long silence. When he finally spoke, he ignored Alai’s complaint. "Again," he said, "and this time without self-pity."
    Orson Scott Card  --  Ender’s Game
  • Gawaine’s mind did not move easily along the paths of irony, so he accepted the sneer as statement of fact.
    T. H. White  --  The Once and Future King
  • willfully refusing to see the irony of his tone,
    Leo Tolstoy  --  Anna Karenina
  • He spoke with incisive irony. "Tell a secret over the radio, publish it in a tabloid, but never tell it to a man who drinks more than three or four a day."
    F. Scott Fitzgerald  --  Tender is the Night
  • Nobody in the world could put a gentle nuance of irony into a couple of words better than Poirot.
    Agatha Christie  --  The ABC Murders
  • She pronounced the "we" with a faint emphasis that gave it an ironic sound.
    Edith Wharton  --  The Age of Innocence
  • But her irony was not the sort of thing Tom Stark would hear or understand, for he...
    Robert Penn Warren  --  All the King’s Men
  • But irony was not for those people; their mental vision was not focused for it.
    Mark Twain  --  Pudd’nhead Wilson
  • "There’s certainly no reason why you shouldn’t," said Mrs. Morel, and she returned to her book. He winced from his mother’s irony,
    D.H. Lawrence  --  Sons and Lovers
  • Minou scowls at her aunt. "Are you making fun again?"
    Dede shakes her head. ...
    Minou is watching her aunt for any sign of irony.
    Julia Alvarez  --  In the Time of the Butterflies
  • She doesn’t think the Clan Leaders, Meg ’n’ Emily ’n’ Siobhan, understand irony. They like rules too much.
    Laurie Halse Anderson  --  Speak
  • ...he almost never addressed his daughter save in the ironical form.
    Henry James  --  Washington Square
  • she remarked to Miss Bart with a faint touch of irony: "I suppose I ought to say good morning."
    Edith Wharton  --  The House of Mirth
  • ...asking at last, interrupting maybe, courteous and affable—nothing of irony, nothing of sarcasm—
    William Faulkner  --  Absalom, Absalom!
  • Farmer said, with sympathy, not irony, "That’s all right."
    Tracy Kidder  --  Mountains Beyond Mountains
  • "I went to a special school," he said, wondering if she noticed the irony of his words. And then he found himself telling her about this special school that was not really a school at all,
    Robert Cormier  --  After the First Death
  • ...he would cloak his words in a tone of irony, as though he did not altogether associate himself with what he was saying.
    Marcel Proust  --  Swann’s Way
  • "Women like me have few skills they can sell." There’s a hint of malicious irony in her voice. Does she know what he was thinking as she lay unconscious on his unmade bed?
    Margaret Atwood  --  Alias Grace
  • "Feather beds ain’t his style."

    He had meant it as blatant irony, since of course feather beds were exactly Jake’s style, but the discussion was so solemn that his flourish went unnoticed.
    Larry McMurtry  --  Lonesome Dove
  • To clear the air Tomas came out with as sprightly a "Fine, just fine!" as he could muster, but he immediately felt that no matter how hard he tried (in fact, because he tried so hard), his "fine" sounded bitterly ironic.
    Milan Kundera  --  The Unbearable Lightness of Being
  • "Fact!" said General Forbes. "Heard it from old Bassington-ffrench. And he heard it from old Badger Cotterill who’d got it from Snooks Parker.’"

    Miss Henderson nodded brightly. "That does seem to settle it!’ she said."

    A fleeting smile showed for a minute on the face of a small man sitting near them. Miss Henderson noticed the smile. She was observant. It had shown appreciation of the irony underlying her last remark...
    Agatha Christie  --  Early Cases Of Hercule Poirot
  • In an age of irony, an earnest statement is a target.
    Jay Allison, et al.  --  This I Believe II
  • When he left us she bid him goodbye using his surname, with neither irony nor derision.
    Chang-rae Lee  --  Native Speaker
  • Don’t you think it ironic that they’re being used to sell products that none of them can afford?
    W. William Winokur  --  The Perfect Game
  • I let a slight note of irony sound within the sentence...
    Roger Zelazny  --  Nine Princes in Amber
  • ...and Marilyn Manson T-shirt, which I believe he is wearing to be ironic.
    Meg Cabot  --  Queen of Babble
  • ...he spoke on a serious subject in a frivolous manner, pretending to be in earnest, but with an under-current of irony.
    Fyodor Dostoyevsky  --  The Idiot
  • With a blank face Philip offered his congratulations, and Flanagan was so busy congratulating himself that he did not catch the note of irony which Philip could not prevent from coming into his voice.
    W. Somerset Maugham  --  Of Human Bondage
  • The feeling was embodied in a slogan shouted in the streets and chalked up on walls: "Bread or fresh air!" This half-ironical battle-cry was the signal for some demonstrations that...
    Albert Camus  --  The Plague
  • "The Corporation has been assured that the colonists are volunteers." It seemed to Rod that the announcer’s tone was ironical. "This is understandable when one considers the phenomenal population pressure..."
    Robert A. Heinlein  --  Tunnel In the Sky
  • There was an ironic tone to that final message, as if the Speaker found it amusing;
    Lois Lowry  --  The Giver
  • "...I grant it, mon vieux ," said M. Bouc with a gesture of irony.
    Agatha Christie  --  Murder On The Orient Express
  • ... and with an accent of irony and insolence impossible to be described, he replied to d’Artagnan, "I was not speaking to you, sir."
    Alexandre Dumas  --  The Three Musketeers
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To see samples using other meanings of irony, click a word sense below:
as in: situational irony Define
when what happens is very different than what might be expected; or when things seem incongruous together -- especially when amusing or an entertaining coincidence
as in: verbal irony Define
saying or writing one thing, while meaning the opposite or something else -- usually as humor or sarcasm
as in: dramatic irony Define
when the meaning of a situation is understood by the reader or audience but not by the characters in the story (such as in the play, Romeo and Juliet)
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