Reserve irony for situations where there's a gap between reality and expectations, especially when such a gap is created for dramatic or humorous effect.

In Greek, eiron meant "a dissembler" — someone who hides their true intentions. Today, we do something very similar when we employ irony, often by saying the opposite of what we really mean. The word can also refer to a situation that turns out to be amusingly different from what we expected: "I thought he had stolen the Fig Newtons, but the irony was that he thought the same thing of me." Note that this is more than just an improbable coincidence!

Definitions of irony
  1. noun
    incongruity between what might be expected and what actually occurs
    “the irony of Ireland's copying the nation she most hated”
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    Socratic irony
    admission of your own ignorance and willingness to learn while exposing someone's inconsistencies by close questioning
    type of:
    incongruity, incongruousness
    the quality of disagreeing; being unsuitable and inappropriate
  2. noun
    a trope that involves incongruity between what is expected and what occurs
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    dramatic irony
    (theater) irony that occurs when the meaning of the situation is understood by the audience but not by the characters in the play
    verbal irony
    when the intended meaning of a speaker’s words contrasts with the literal meaning
    situational irony
    when the result of an event or action is the opposite of what was intended or expected
    type of:
    figure, figure of speech, image, trope
    language used in a figurative or nonliteral sense
  3. noun
    witty language used to convey insults or scorn
    irony is wasted on the stupid”
    synonyms: caustic remark, sarcasm, satire
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    type of:
    humor, humour, wit, witticism, wittiness
    a message whose ingenuity or verbal skill or incongruity has the power to evoke laughter
Commonly confused words

irony / satire / sarcasm

Irony, satire, and sarcasm all fall into the category of, "That's funny but I'm not sure what my English teacher wants me to call it."

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Word Family

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