The term verbal irony refers to the use of vocabulary to describe something in a way that is other than it seems. Often, but not always, verbal irony is used with a sarcastic tone or nature. Verbal irony is often a comment that conveys a different meaning than what it may seem to be.
Use of Verbal Irony
Verbal irony is used in a variety of circumstances. It may be used in general conversation or also in media. Television sitcoms and movies often use verbal irony, as do many political pundits.
Verbal irony is often stated in the form of a metaphor or simile. Comparisons and contrasts are used to create a visualization for the listener or reader.
Examples of Everyday Verbal Irony
- Soft like a brick
- Hard as putty
- Clear like dirt
- As pleasant as surgery
- Saying “Oh, fantastic!” when the situation is actually very poor
- As calm as a dog in heat
- One got in a car accident and said “Lucky me!”
- In Julius Caesar when Mark Antony states “Yet Brutus says he was ambitious and Brutus is an honorable man”
- Dimmesdale's confession and discussion of his congregation in the Scarlet Letter that is meant to mean he's terrible and should be shunned but the people did the opposite
- As sunny as day in winter in Alaska
- This car goes as fast as a Huffy bicycle.
- He's as nice as a lion to his prey.
- The weather is as cool as July in Baltimore.
- It's as devoid of rain here as Seattle.
- This chair is as comfortable as sitting on nails.
- That dog is as friendly as a rattlesnake.
- The server at the restaurant was as helpful as a feral cat.
- The wind was as welcome as a monsoon.
- I enjoyed the movie as much as getting a root canal.
- The steak was as tender as a leather boot.
- The wine was as delicious as a glass full of vinegar.
- Her presence was enjoyed as much as having a team full of raucous foul mouthed people joining our table.
- I'd like to visit that museum again as much as I'd like to gnaw off my own foot.
- I like spending time with my co-workers as much as I enjoy digging my eye out with a dull spoon.
- The neighbors are as calm as a coop full of angry hens.
- They are as quiet as a massive cat fight.
- Her car is as clean as a convenience store trashcan.
- Their house is as quiet as an after hours club.
- She is as polite as a shark.
As you can see, all of these are different examples of verbal irony that could be used in common conversation.