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What word means what many people think 'ironic' means?

While irony actually means 'the opposite of what is expected', it is often misused in a context to make it mean 'an unexpected and amusing coincidence or similarity'. Is there any word that does actually mean this?

  • @RegDwight I didn't see that question before. It seems it is a duplicate. – Edward Black Jun 12 '11 at 21:12
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    This might not be an exact duplicate. irony is more commonly used within the scope of an (to borrow from the questioner) "AMUSING" paradox. The words listed in the possibility mentioned above just assume a paradox but not if it is amusing in a generic sense or not. – Sri Atluru Jun 12 '11 at 21:50
  • There is widespread disagreement about the meaning of the term "ironic." The OP claims to have knowledge of a definition that is not generally accepted. – The Raven Jun 12 '11 at 23:13

How about the word - Sardonic.

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  • Sardonic has an element of mockery – Thursagen Jun 12 '11 at 22:10
  • It also describes a communication style and can't even be meaningfully applied to an event other than someone speaking or writing. – chaos Jun 12 '11 at 22:26

These usages aren't necessarily at odds, though I'd say that your explication of "irony" is unduly specific; it isn't precisely the opposite of what's expected so much as some sort of violation of expectation. In fact, I'd say that irony is at its best when the observed events aren't opposite expectation but skew to expectation.

When you think of it that way, an odd coincidence is conceivably justifiable as a weak case of irony, in that one ordinarily expects a lack of odd coincidences -- the normal expectation is that events with unrelated causes will have unrelated effects. (Not to say that this normal expectation is entirely valid.)

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Most people would understand "amusing coincidence"!
I think its the best term.

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