Irony: Definition/Types/Explanation with Example

What is Irony?

Irony is a figure of speech in English which states the opposite of the truth, denies the contrary of the truth.

In simple way, it is a figure of speech that drastically and obviously understates a factual connection.


The word Irony derived from the Greek character Eiron, who was an underdog and used his wit overcome a stronger character. The Greek word Eironia derived from this character and came to mean dissimulation or purposely affected ignorance. The word then entered Latin as Ironia and eventually became common as a figure of speech in English in 16th century.

Irony is sometimes confused with events that are just unfortunate coincidence,

For instance; Alanis Morrissett’s song Ironic contains many events that are not Ironic in any sense, she sites “rain” on your wedding day” and a traffic jam when you`re already late” as Ironic situations yet these are merely bad luck.

Other forms of Irony were identified by Historian Connop Thirwall including dialect and practical Irony.

There are various types of Irony often used to emphasis the assertion of truth.

  • Verbal Irony
  • Dramatic Irony
  • Situational Irony

Verbal Irony: – It refers, when a person wants to express something through speech but the meaning would be completely different of what he says,  

Like Hotel Manager says `Well done` when a waiter breaks the glass (in verbal sense he is giving different expression of speech, what he actually means here.)

For Example; If it is very cold day.

A person would say in Verbal Irony; “Isn`t it warm today”?

Dramatic Irony: – It is related to readers or audience, When the audience is aware about the whole situation like something very important but the characters of the play are unaware.

For Example; a character of the play is about to open the door but he/she doesn’t know that there is a person holding a gun, but the audience know. This is the Dramatic Irony.

This is very common and it always happens in dramatic Irony.

Situational Irony: – It refers to the situation of unexpectedly expected. When an events or incidents occurs, which is unexpected by the person. It is opposite of what a person or character actually expects.

For Example; when Mr. Darcy falls in love with Elizabeth, who once called her as not handsome enough to tempt him. This situation that actually was unexpected by Mr. Darcy to happen.

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