SKIP TO CONTENT

Socratic irony

Socratic irony is when you pretend to be ignorant to expose the ignorance or inconsistency of someone else.

Socrates was a famous Greek philosopher known for his probing questions. Irony is when a statement means the opposite of its literal meaning. That should help you remember that Socratic irony is a technique where the questioner admits (falsely) to not knowing something as a way of tricking the other person into revealing his own lack of knowledge or a flaw in his logic. Socratic irony involves pretending to be ignorant to show someone else is ignorant: thus, the irony.

Definitions of Socratic irony
  1. noun
    admission of your own ignorance and willingness to learn while exposing someone's inconsistencies by close questioning
    see moresee less
    type of:
    irony
    incongruity between what might be expected and what actually occurs
Word Family
EDITOR’S CHOICE

Test prep from the experts

Boost your test score with programs developed by Vocabulary.com’s experts.

  • Proven methods: Learn faster, remember longer with our scientific approach.
  • Personalized plan: We customize your experience to maximize your learning.
  • Strategic studying: Focus on the words that are most crucial for success.

SAT/PSAT

$29.95
  • Number of words: 500+
  • Duration: 8 weeks or less
  • Time: 1 hour / week

TOEFL

$29.95
  • Number of words: 500+
  • Duration: 10 weeks or less
  • Time: 1 hour / week

ACT

$29.95
  • Number of words: 700+
  • Duration: 10 weeks
  • Time: 1 hour / week