I was wondering if "way to do something" means it is right or wrong to do something?

I thought it means it is right to do something until I read this:

Just a few doors down, Lynette's sister shows up just in time to help her through her split with Tom. Unfortunately the once messy sibling shows up looking fabulous and on the arm of a sexy new boyfriend. Way to make Lynette feel good about herself!!! Don't you hate when that happens? When a friend or loved one shows up to try to help you through a troubling time and all they do is flaunt all of the fabulous things that are going on in their life.

  • 4
    "a sarcasm detector? Oh, that's a real useful invention" – Sam Oct 10 '11 at 3:37
  • @Sam: What did you mean? – Tim Oct 10 '11 at 4:04
  • Sorry, it's a quote from the Simpsons. The sentence in question is clearly sarcastic. I would think most use of 'way to' these days is used in this ironic way. They clearly don't mean the sentence literally. – Sam Oct 10 '11 at 4:12

Way to X usually is an exclamation of approval, encouragement, a positive reaction. However, in the example you posted it's meant ironically, so it's the exact opposite.

Some references you might be interested in:

way to go!:

(idiomatic) an expression of congratulations, encouragement, or approval

This is a very close phrase to what you got there above. Similar example would be: "Way to score, man!"

However, beware of another phrase, what a way to go!:

(set phrase) expression or remark on the unfortunate, exceptional, or unusual nature of somebody's death

This one is similar to saying for example, "what a waste!" or "what a strange idea!"

  • "Way to X" is used primarily sarcastically in all contexts post-kindergarten, in my experience. – user13141 Oct 10 '11 at 8:08

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