Did you know?

Click any word in a definition or example to find the entry for that word

irony - definition and synonyms

What are red words?

90% of the time, speakers of English use just 7,500 words in speech and writing. These words appear in red, and are graded with stars. One-star words are frequent, two-star words are more frequent, and three-star words are the most frequent.

Thesaurus diagram

The thesaurus of synonyms and related words is fully integrated into the dictionary. Click on the thesaurus category heading under the button in an entry to see the synonyms and related words for that meaning.

noun     irony pronunciation in American English
Word Forms
Related words
  1. 1
    [uncountable] a form of humor in which you use words to express the opposite of what the words really mean

    “You’ve been so kind,” she said, her voice heavy with irony.

    a touch/trace/hint of irony:

    His writing contains a cheerful touch of irony.

  2. 2
    [countable/uncountable] a strange, funny, or sad situation in which things happen in the opposite way to what you would expect
    tragic/bitter/cruel irony:

    By a cruel irony, General Franklin was killed at the very moment of his army’s great victory.

    the irony (of something) is that:

    The irony is that it would have been faster to have taken the back roads after all.



to manipulate someone psychologically so that they begin to question their own perceptions and memories

BuzzWord Article

Open Dictionary

Dunning-Kruger effect

the phenomenon by which an incompetent person is too incompetent to understand his own incompetence

add a word


A must for anyone with an interest in the changing face of language. The Macmillan Dictionary blog explores English as it is spoken around the world today.

global English and language change from our blog
Macmillan learn live love play