A “deflection of expectation,” where words, situation, or perspective offer something other than what we expect on the surface. Verbal irony (often sarcasm) is when words suggest the opposite of their surface meaning (“What a surprise!” when one is not surprised); Situational irony is when events are the reverse of expectation (the pickpocket whose wallet is stolen); and Dramatic irony is most powerful in literature, when a character cannot see or understand as much as other characters (Romeo believes Juliet is dead and kills himself in despair while she wakens at his side). See Waywords Podcast 1.2 on Irony for more.

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