|Source||Quintilian 9.2.45-51; Bede 615; Aquil. 7 ("ironia," "simulatio"); Susenbrotus (1540) 14-15 ("ironia," "illusio"); Sherry (1550) 45 ("ironia," "dissimulatio"); Peacham (1577) D3r; Fraunce (1588) 1.6; Putt. (1589) 199 ("ironia," "the dry mock"); Day 1599 80 ("ironia"); Silva Rhetoricae (http://humanities.byu.edu/rhetoric/Silva.htm); JG Smith (1665) ("ironia"); Gibbons (1767) 77 ("irony"); Holmes (1806) ("irony," "ironia"); Hart (1874) 170-171; Macbeth (1876); Bain (1867) 62 ("irony"); De Mille (1882); Hill (1883); Waddy (1889); Jamieson (1844) 189; Blount (1653) 6 ("ironia"); Raub (1888) 219; Bullinger (1898) ("eironeia; or, irony"); Johnson (1903) ("irony"); Norwood (1742) ("irony")|
|Synonyms||ironia, illusio, dissimulatio, simulatio, the dry mock, eironeia|
|Etymology||I'-ron-y. Gr. eironeua "dissimulation" hence, "a dissembling, especially in speech" from eirein "to speak"|
1. Speaking in such a way as to imply the contrary of what one says, often for the purpose of derision, mockery, or jest. (Silva Rhetoricae)
2. Ironia, mocking or counterfeiting: a trope whereby in derision, we speak contrary to what we think or mean.; Ironia, Simulatio, irrisio, mocking or counterfeiting, derived from in loquendo dissimulatione utor, to dissemble in speaking; or from [eiro] dico, from whence [eiron] Simulator, qui aliter dicit ac sontit: from which Ironia is taken for dissimulation, whereby one thing is thought and another spoken; it signifies also taunting speeches, or a speaking by contraries; as if we should say black is white. It is called the mocking Trope, whereby in derision we speak contrary to what we think or mean, or when one contrary is signified by another: This Trope is not so well perceived by the words, as either by the contrariety of the matter, or the manner of utterance, or both. Antiphrasis and this are of very nigh affinity, only differing in this, that Antiphrasis consists in the contrary sense of a word, and Ironia of a sentence. (JG Smith)
3. "...a Trope, in which one contrary is signified by another; or, in which we speak one thing, and design another, in order to give the greater force and vehemence to our meaning." (Gibbons)
4. An Irony, dissembling with an air, Thinks otherwise than what the words declare. (Holmes)
5. Irony consists in ridiculing an object under a pretence of praising it. The language in it literal acceptation is exactly the opposite of what the author means. (Hart)
6. Irony comes before us next: "the dry mock," quoth old Puttenham. When a speaker expresses himself contrary to his thoughts, not with the intention of concealing his real sentiments, but of giving greater force to them, he speaks ironically. (Macbeth)
7. "Irony expresses the contrary of what is meant, there being something in the tone or manner to show the real drift of the speaker…." (Bain)
8. 124. IRONY.
8. 456. IRONY.
9. 3. Irony.
10. Irony is a figure in which the meaning is contrary to what is expressed. The writer seems to praise what is base and foolish, and in doing so sets forth the contrast between the real character of the object and what is said of it. (Waddy)
11. "When we express ourselves in a manner contrary to our thoughts, not with a view to deceive, but to add force to our observations, we are then said to speak ironically." (Jamieson)
12. "The abuse of a word drawn from things far differing" (Blount)
13. "Irony is a figure employed to express the opposite of the idea entertained. Irony ridicules an object under the pretense of praising it. The true meaning is indicated sometimes by a sneering tone of voice, but generally the construction of the sentence is such as to indicate the irony. ...Irony sometimes conveys a compliment in the guise of an insult, but more frequently an insult in the guise of a compliment…." (Raub)
14. Irony is a Trope whereby a Man speaks contrary to his Thoughts, that he may speak with more Force and Advantage. (Blackwall)
15. The Expression of Thought in a form that naturally conveys its opposite... The figure is so called when the speaker intends to convey a sense contrary to the strict signification of the words employed: not with the intention of concealing his real meaning, but for the purpose of adding greater force to it... There are three classes of Irony:-
16. Irony.—This figure of rhetoric consists in saying the exact opposite of what is meant. It is common to all, from the most unlettered boor to the most accomplished writer. It may form the substance of the cheapest wit or of the most stinging sarcasm. (Johnson, 138)
17. IRONY. Irony is a sort of a Trope or Figure, by which we speak contrary to our very thoughts; saying one thing, but meaning what is very different to it. (Norwood, 49)
1. When in Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing the constable Dogberry says "redemption" instead of "damnation" (itself a malapropism), the fact that he means precisely the opposite of what he so passionately exclaims makes this a comical use of irony:
3. "...our Lord's rebuke to the Jewish Doctors, when he says, Mark vii. 9. 'Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition." (Gibbons)
2. He was no notorious Malefactor, but he had been twice on the Pillory, and once burnt in the hand for trifling oversights.
Milo had but a slender strength, who carried an oxe a furlong on his back, then kill'd him with his fist, and eat him to his breakfast.
So when the Persian army was at variance among themselves, Philip of Macedon (their utter enemy) said, He would send his army to make them friends.
Thus Gnatho speaks Ironically to Thraso; What (quoth he) they knew you not after I had shewn them your good conditions, and made mention of your vertues? Then answered Thraso, You did like an honest man, I heartily thank you: Here, both the saying of Gnatho and Thrasoe's Answer have a contrary signification. (JG Smith)
4. Fairly done, i.e. Scandalously done. Good Boy, i.e. Bad Boy. (Holmes)
5. "No doubt but ye are the people, and wisdom shall die with you!" - Job 12:2 (Hart)
5. "Cry aloud; for he is a god; either he is talking, or he is pursuing, or he is in a journey, or peradventure he sleepeth, and must be waked!" - Elijah, 1 Kings 17:27 (Hart)
5. "Although I would have you early instill into your children's hearts the love of cruelty, yet by no means call it by its true name, but encourage them in it under the name of fun." (Hart)
5. "Here, under leave of Brutus and the rest, (For Brutus is an honorable man, So are they all, all honorable men,) Come I to speak in Caesar's funeral. He was my friend, faithful and just to me; But Brutus says he was ambitious; and Brutus is an honorable man." - Julius Caesar (Hart)
6. A certain bishop was notorious for malice and treachery. Said Sydney Smith:
7. "as in Job's address to his friends, 'No doubt but ye are the people, and wisdom will die with you." (Bain)
9. A single example, from Whittier, will illustrate this:
11. "To reprove a person for his negligence, one might say, 'You have taken great care indeed.'" (Jamieson)
12. "I am in danger of preferment. I am not guilty of those praises. I have hardly escaped good fortune. He threatens me a good turn." (Blount)
13. "For Brutus is an honorable man! / So are they all, all honorable men." (Raub)
14. Son! Thou in whom My Glory I behold
14. Go now, and study tuneful Verse at Rome! - Horace (Blackwall)
15. [ex. of I.] Dut. 32:37. -"And he shall say: Where are their gods, their rock in whom they trusted, Which did eat fat of their sacrifices, and drank the wine of their drink-offerings? let them rise up and help you, and be you protection."
15. [ex. of II.] 2 Kings 8:10. -The words of Elisha to Hazael: "Go, say unto him (i.e., the king of Syria), Thou mayest certainly recover: howbeit the LORD hath shewed me that he shall surely die."
15. [ex. of III.] Gen. 19:2. -The angels said to Lot, "Nay; but we will abide in the street all night." This was said to try Lot, to see what he would do; for they were not sent to abide in Sodom at all. (Bullinger, 799)
15. [ex. from IV.] Gen. 37:19. -Joseph's brethren said: "Behold this dreamer cometh." The Heb. is stronger than this, as it partly shown in the margin: "Behold that Master of the dreams, there he comes." They did not mean this, for see verses 5 and 11. (Bullinger, 800)
15. [ex. of V.] Matt. 2:8. -Herod says to the wise men: "Go and search for the young child; and when ye have found him, bring me word again, that I may come and worship him also" (or that I also may come and worship him).
16. An example is furnished by Antony's
The noble Brutus
Antony, as he tells us, can speak on that occasion only by leave of the men who have murdered
I speak not to disprove what Brutus spoke,
the irony is overwhelming from the fact that he has already disproved it. Literature furnishes no finer example of irony than this, nor one that requires a nicer art in the delivery. Job, answering his friends, resorts to irony when he says (xii, 2), "No doubt but ye are the people, and wisdom shall die with you." (Johnson, 138-140)
17. 2 Sam. 6. 20. How glorious was the kingdom of Israel to day? That is, how shameful? How dishonourable? See the context. (Norwood, 49)
17. Job 12. 2. No doubt but ye are the people, and wisdom shall die with you: as if he said; you, surly, fancy yourselves to be extremely wise; and that all wisdom shall perish with you; which is a tacit reprehension of their imprudent censure, in accusing Job of some impiety, as if God's judgements upon him was an infallible
|Related Figures||antiphrasis, paralipsis, epitrope, sarcasmus, mycterismus, litotes, oxymoron, synchoresis|
|Notes||Quintillian notes tone of voice (marked changes in pitch volume, speed, or length of pauses) as a signal for irony. JG Smith calls it the mocking Trope.|
|Last Editor||Ioanna Malton|
|Editorial Notes||There are many figures which could be related or "Part Of" irony. When you come across them, copy into the "Related Figures"|