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I have learned that in English, some words have been used to mean the opposite of their original meanings, for the purpose of often negative intensions such as sarcasm, irony, ...

For example

I would think most use of 'way to' these days is used in this ironic way.

In English, single-word replies often denote sarcasm. A common example you might often see in movies and TV is: if someone says a lame joke and someone else replies in an unenthusiastic tone of voice, "Hilarious," it implies that the person thinks that the joke was not funny at all.

In order not to be easily fooled, I wonder if we can provide more examples that are often used by native speakers to actually mean the opposite?

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closed as not constructive by simchona, Hugo, z7sg Ѫ, Marthaª, ShreevatsaR Oct 10 '11 at 6:17

As it currently stands, this question is not a good fit for our Q&A format. We expect answers to be supported by facts, references, or expertise, but this question will likely solicit debate, arguments, polling, or extended discussion. If you feel that this question can be improved and possibly reopened, visit the help center for guidance.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

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Since almost all words can be used sarcastically, this question is asking for an infinite list, and is thus not a good fit for this site. Even if the question were edited to ask for words which have changed their meaning over time (e.g. 'silly') rather than words that can be used sarcastically, there would be way too many possible words to list them all in one answer. –  Marthaª Oct 10 '11 at 5:30
    
@cindi: My heart. –  Tim Oct 10 '11 at 15:13

2 Answers 2

When you say one thing but mean the opposite, this is irony, and sarcasm can be ironic. So all English words can be used ironically, for example:

This question is a good fit to our Q&A format. This question is unlikely solicit opinion, debate, arguments, polling, or extended discussion. I will not flag it.

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Where did you quote come from? –  Tim Oct 10 '11 at 6:33
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@Tim: Hugo is being sarcastic. That quote is a play on one of the standard close reasons (read the close reason for this question) –  simchona Oct 10 '11 at 6:45

I think that people develop a natural feel for sarcasm. When somebody doesn't want to say something negative, they say something positive instead. For example, if someone has a really cruel dog that's always going around terrorizing the neighbors after work, and that same someone says, "I love my dog. She's such a sweetheart!" A sarcastic remark would be, "Right, she's a real angel!" If they don't use the tone, then you could consider it 'dry' humor.

Sometimes people also like something a lot and say that they don't. For example, sometimes women start hitting their boyfriends after they propose and say, "I hate you," even when they are obviously happy and excited.

Humor seems to be in timing. So, it's probably the set-up more than the response that makes sarcastic humor so great. Some people seem to live on sarcasm. Everything they say is inverted. I find this terribly annoying. Like any kind of joke, it's funny for a while and then gets old. One-word replies, like "Hilarious," don't have to be sarcastic. Neither do 'way-to' sentences. They're probably common because there are really good set-ups. It's even idiomized in the phrase "famous last words".

A side note..., this question might wind up being very chatty. I still think it's cool, though, because it seems like it's coming from an AI scenario writer or something.

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Thanks! Why do you think "it's coming from an AI scenario writer or something"? –  Tim Oct 10 '11 at 6:32
    
It seems like an attempt at language recognition. :) –  Wolfpack'08 Oct 10 '11 at 10:11

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