I pit irony

Seriously, it’s like the only word to express a difference of outcome in a funny manner we have, that can apply to the spoken word. Yet despite this, it has to have such a specific definition. Every time, it seems, the word is used someone will pop in and say ERROR–INCORRECT USAGE INCORRECT USAGE even though there’s no better way to describe the relationship. Why does irony have to have such a specific definition? And why aren’t there more words for that sort of thing? Sarcasm’s a good start, but we need more!


99% of the time, the misuse of ironic can be eliminated by using the word “unexpected” or “unfortunate”.

It’s like 10,000 spoons when all you need is a knife - Unfortunate (or poor planning)
It’s like meeting the man of your dreams, and then meeting his beautiful wife - Unfortunate (although completely expected - if he’s that great, chances are someone else has noticed, too!)
It’s like raaaaaaain on your wedding day - Unexpected and perhaps Unfortunate.

I could go on, but I won’t. (Unexpected?)

“Ironic” is also used when people mean “coincidental,” or (to adopt WhyNot’s point a little) at most “unfortunately coincidental.” For example, “I was out on a date with my new girlfriend, when we ran into my ex and her new boyfriend.” It’s not ironic, but it is an unpleasant coincidence.

Complaining about people complaining you’re using irony incorrectly when you actually are using it incorrectly is an excellent example of something.
What is it, now?

Computer says no.

Irony: full of iron.

So why isn’t tiny full of tin? Is that irony?

3,2,1 and you’re under: Cupboardy IS a word.

My personal example of irony is the O. Henry short story, “The Gift of The Magi”.

There’s another short story - the lady borrows diamonds, loses them, then works the rest of her life to replace them only to learn that the diamonds were actually paste.

The song, “Isn’t it Ironic” would be ironic (IMO) if the rain on the wedding day came in the middle of a drought after a fortune was spent on importing water for some weddingy reason.

It would be ironic if my examples of irony are all wrong.:smiley:

My Mac dictionary states-

-in addition to the irony=sarcasm and tragic or dramatic irony meanings. So this is the bastardized, illegitimate sense of the word, best exemplified by Alanis Morrissette’s song? Hell, we’ve already got sarcastic and sardonic, but no single word for ‘an unfortunate coincidence that seems deliberately contrary to expectations’. As far as I’m concerned the conversion of ‘irony’ is a net plus. YMMV.

Blackadder : Baldrick, have you no idea what irony is?
Baldrick : Yeah! It’s like goldy and bronzy, only it’s made of iron.

Because it’s tiny, so there isn’t room for much tin.

I’ve often wanted to vandalize Uncyclopedia, and replace their entry for “Irony” with the entry:

Irony: something humorous based on contradiction: something said or written that uses humor based on words suggesting the opposite of their literal meaning.

lead: heavy, cumbersome, unwieldy, and toxic metal. usage: Keanu Reeves played a lead role in The Day The Earth Stood Still

That’s sarcasm. Totally different.

I’d say that Irony is “unexpectedly fitting”

Is it possible American English doesn’t have words for irony because it’s not something Americans like to discuss?

Are there quaint Briticisms describing irony that we Yanks don’t know about? “And the 10,000th spoon in the drawer was that Fotheringham had come to collect the rocket a fortnight before and found the basket full of swedes instead!”

“It’s ironic they call it ‘Sports personality of the Year’ because most sports people don’t have peronalities.”

Is an example of a type of irony. There are more than one type of irony.

As an American I call bull on Americans not getting irony. Then again I read alot of Douglas Adams as a kid so who knows?