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Irony

  • By: Rachel Giora & Salvatore Attardo
  • In: Encyclopedia of Humor Studies
  • Edited by: Salvatore Attardo
  • Subject:General Media, Communication & Cultural Studies, Sociology of Culture

Irony, like many terms in everyday language usage, has many different meanings. For instance, irony may refer to either a verbal phenomenon or a state of affairs in the world. The latter is called situational irony. An example of situational irony is a rescuer heroically saving someone from drowning only to find out that the rescued person was his or her worst enemy. Situational irony need not be entirely different from verbal irony, as shown by Cameron Shelley, yet it will not be discussed any further in this entry.

Verbal irony also has various meanings. Socratic irony is a technique used by Greek philosopher Socrates to lead his interlocutors to a better understanding of an argument. Romantic irony is an author's playful attitude toward his or ...

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