Is there a word or phrase to express something that may or may not be ironic, but is certainly humorous beyond just coincidental? I'm thinking along the lines of a weaker form of irony. My goal is to use this word or phrase in place of "ironic" or "irony" to avoid the inevitable claim of, "That's not ironic". I want the situation to be enjoyed for what it is, and not clouded by someone trying to determine the validity of my statement.

The word/phrase should make sense when describing things that actually are ironic, and also when describing situations such as:

A self proclaimed IT security expert that is constantly getting hacked.

You bring your dog home from the groomer and he immediately gets skunked.

Someone who is extremely poor and for years struggles to make ends meet, yet spends $2/year on lottery tickets, eventually wins two different lottery jackpots on the same day.

Perhaps the entire lyrics of the song "Ironic" by Alanis Morissette could be described by this word/phrase too.

I think we can do better than coincidental or humorous coincidence or even just funny or sad.

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    Your two examples are fine to label as irony. Can you post the text of (or at least link to) some examples that you think aren't? – Lawrence Apr 21 '16 at 15:16
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    The sense of "ironic" you want to back away from describes a situation in which events have different or opposite result from what one would expect. I don't see much room there for a weaker form of the same thing. If events are humorous for some other reason then you should describe them with language appropriate to that reason. – PellMel Apr 21 '16 at 15:16
  • @Lawrence - perhaps scenarios in the song "ironic", in particular the somewhat humorous ones: "A free ride when you've already paid." Perhaps "Rain on your wedding day" but with the added condition that the wedding is outdoors in Las Vegas? There seem to be situations where whether or not something is "ironic" is debatable, and it's also humorous. That's the particular situation I'm going for. – TTT Apr 21 '16 at 16:17
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    @Drew - I didn't mean to imply that irony is negative. I just don't want to use the word "ironic" because inevitably someone will waste brain power trying to decide if it actually is ironic. Perhaps a synonym would suffice, if there is one. – TTT Apr 21 '16 at 16:20
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    +1 for, among other things, observing that much generally otherwise impressive brain power is wasted on trying to prove Alanis wrong. If nothing else, the comments under @Robusto‘s answer to this ELU question support your observation & show that those who argue against the OED ("A condition of affairs or events of a character opposite to what was, or might naturally be, expected; a contradictory outcome of events as if in mockery of the promise & fitness of things") rarely have the last word. – Papa Poule Apr 21 '16 at 17:22

You could simply say 'isn't it funny?'

'Isn't it funny that the IT expert gets hacked all the time?'

'Funny that when she took her dog home from the groomer, it got skunked immediately'

While the second sentence can imply that something potentially dodgy happened, it can just as frequently be something humorous.

  • I don't really like this answer, simply because you used one of the words I suggested we rule out, but this does fit quite well. – TTT Apr 21 '16 at 19:54

Murphy's Law

the facetious proposition that if something can go wrong, it will.


  • This is close and could apply to some situations, but I'm thinking broader. I've added another example where Murphy's Law wouldn't apply. – TTT Apr 21 '16 at 16:54

You can say (in British English) it is Sod's Law

Sod's law is a name for the axiom that "if something can go wrong, it will", with the further addendum, in British culture, that it will happen at "the worst possible time"


So your examples would be:

It is Sod's Law that a self proclaimed IT security expert is constantly getting hacked!

Sod's Law! You bring your dog home from the groomer and he immediately gets skunked!

  • This is close (perhaps even more targeted than Murphy's Law) and could apply to some situations, but I'm thinking broader. I've added another example where Sod's Law wouldn't apply. – TTT Apr 21 '16 at 16:54

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