i·ro·ny (īrə-nē, īər-)
n. pl. i·ro·nies
a. The use of words to express something different from and often opposite to their literal meaning.
b. An expression or utterance marked by a deliberate contrast between apparent and intended meaning: "the embodiment of the waspish don, from his Oxbridge tweeds to the bone-dry ironies of his speech and prose" (Ron Rosenbaum).
a. Incongruity between what might be expected and what actually occurs: "Hyde noted the irony of Ireland's copying the nation she most hated" (Richard Kain).
b. An occurrence, result, or circumstance notable for such incongruity: the ironies of fate. See Usage Note at ironic.
3. Dramatic irony.
4. Socratic irony.
[French ironie, from Old French, from Latin īrōnīa, from Greek eirōneia, feigned ignorance, from eirōn, dissembler, perhaps from eirein, to say; see wer-5 in the Appendix of Indo-European roots, or from eirein, to fasten together in rows, string together; see ser-2 in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
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Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.