irony ironia
 i'-ron-ee Gk., "affectation of ignorance"
ironia, illusio
dissimulatio, simulatio
the dry mock

Speaking in such a way as to imply the contrary of what one says, often for the purpose of derision, mockery, or jest.
  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:
O villain! thou wilt be condemned into everlasting redemption for this.
Related Figures
  Figures of irony:
  • antiphrasis
    Irony of one word, often derisively through patent contradiction.
  • paralipsis
    Stating and drawing attention to something in the very act of pretending to pass it over.
  • epitrope
    A figure in which one turns things over to one's hearers, either ironically, or in such a way as to suggest a proof of something without having to state it.
  • sarcasmus
    Use of mockery or verbal taunts.
  • mycterismus
Related Topics of Invention
  • Contraries & Contradictions
  Sources: 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")

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
Gideon O. Burton, Brigham Young University
Please cite "Silva Rhetoricae" (

Trees | SILVA RHETORICAE | Flowers