Sunday, January 24, 2010

David’s Definitions for March 2010


When used to refer to an event, it means contrary to what's expected, in a striking or poignant or tragic way. It derives from a Greek word meaning "to lie" or "to be insincere." Here's an example of irony: "The speaker, who was famous for his command of the English language, clearly didn't know the difference between ironically and coincidentally." People do often confuse those two words. Here's an example of coincidence, with nothing ironic about it: "The speaker had a third cousin named Hepzibah. So did the man who introduced him." There's nothing about this coincidence that is strikingly contrary to what you expect, so it's not ironic.

(Will be published in the March 2010 issue of Denver's Community News.)

I'm collecting all of these (but I’m way behind) at:


Kristen said...

I had to use the "event" definition of "ironic" recently to explain to someone insisting Alanis Morissette's "Isn't it Ironic" song contained no ironies that it did, in fact, contain ironies.

David said...

Wow. I don't see how those lyrics could make it any plainer.

Anonymous said...

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TGirsch said...


The song "Ironic" may contain a COUPLE of ironies (I haven't looked at the lyrics in a while), but most of what she describes as ironic is, in fact, not ironic.

A guy who's afraid to fly being in a plane crash on his first flight may be a giant bummer, but it's not ironic. A guy who's afraid to fly so he takes the train instead, and the train crashes (while the plane arrives safely) -- that's ironic.