Word of the day

The word for today is…

irony (noun) – 1. (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.
2. (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.

Source : The Free Dictionary

Etymology : “Figure of speech in which the intended meaning is the opposite of the literal meaning” (usually covert sarcasm under a serious or friendly pretense), circa 1500, from Latin ironia, from Greek eironeia “dissimulation, assumed ignorance,” from eiron “dissembler,” perhaps related to eirein “to speak,” from PIE *wer-yo-, suffixed form of root *were- “to speak”. Used in Greek of affected ignorance, especially that of Socrates, as a method of exposing an antagonist’s ignorance by pretending to modestly seek information or instruction from him. Thus sometimes in English in the sense “simulated ignorance.”

For nuances of usage, see humour. In early use often ironia. Figurative use for “condition opposite to what might be expected; contradictory circumstances; apparent mockery of natural or expected consequences” is from 1640s, sometimes distinguished as irony of fate or irony of circumstances.


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Peter is a fourth generation New Zealander, with both his mothers and fathers folks having arrived in New Zealand in the 1870’s. He lives in Lower Hutt with his wife, two cats and assorted computers.

His work history has been in the timber, banking and real estate industries, and he’s now enjoying retirement. He has been interested in computers for over thirty years and is a strong advocate for free open source software. He is Chairman of the SeniorNet Hutt City Committee.

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