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And they called World War I the "War to End All Wars"

"Irony: The one form of humor that everyone thinks they understand, when actually no one really does. Truly, it is the cleverest joke ever played on mankind."

The intended meaning is an inversion of the plain meaning. Pretty simple, really, but somehow a difficult concept for some to grasp.

Let's describe what irony is not, since that is where the confusion mainly comes from (and it's misused a lot).

  • It is not a lie.
  • It is not a joke.
  • It is not a coincidence.
  • It is not a tragedy.
  • It is not merely anything unexpected.
  • It is not the same as sarcasm.
  • It is not something Alanis Morissette understands. note 

Irony can overlap with those, but just by themselves, they are not irony. This is where the confusion of the meaning of the word usually starts. People try to apply it where it doesn't belong. It's rather common in fiction for one person to correct another who has incorrectly used the term.

It enjoyed a renaissance in the '90s thanks to Postmodernism, which is a slightly different concept of irony.

There are seven main situations where Irony belongs: Socratic, Verbal, Dramatic, Tragic, Situational, Cosmic, and Historical. If something does not fit in any of these, it is not irony.


This type is completely different from the others. First employed by Socrates (hence the name), it's more of a debating tool than modern irony. Thus it rarely overlaps with the other types.

In a nutshell, this is the use of constant questioning in order to reveal the truth of any position. You know how kids like to ask "Why?" no matter the answer? This is the more sophisticated version. You keep feigning ignorance of the topic, in order to force the other person to explain it further. The irony lies in the fact that you are treating the other person as one possessing coveted knowledge and/or wisdom far above your "lowly" station, the whole point in doing so is to expose the fact that they are, in fact, not. Jon Stewart favors this method, as do many professors (particularly law professors).

Closely related to Armor-Piercing Question.


Verbal irony is part of the modern irony types, but it differs from the others in that the irony is intentional. Basically, you state something in a manner that has literal connotation, but expresses something different in the context of the situation. This may be done for any number of reasons, but typically the intent is either humor or emphasis.

Again, you have to intentionally create this difference in order for it to be verbal irony. If you deny that you're upset, but in an angry tone, that's just plain denial, not irony. You mean to try to convince people you are calm, but your tone betrays you. To be verbal irony you have to deny it in a calm tone, but deliberately make it clear you are seething on the inside and want the other person to know it. Note, however, that just because this example wouldn't be verbal irony, this doesn't mean it couldn't be ironic; the irony in this case would be situational, since it's not intended by the speaker.

The distinction between irony and sarcasm is that sarcasm is meant to mock things. The two frequently overlap, but not all verbal irony is sarcastic and not all sarcasm is ironic. Using the case above, denying your anger in a deliberately angry tone would be sarcasm, but would not be verbal irony because the angry tone would imply your intention.

Note, however, that although a sarcastic tone does betray the ironic intent of the words used, this does not mean that irony is no longer present. Indeed, it is only tone and context that distinguish verbal irony from outright lying. For example, take the film About a Boy. The main character's father wrote a hit song, and every time he mentions the song, people start singing it. When the eponymous boy and his mother do the same, they apologize, seeing the look on his face. When they mention he probably got that a lot, he politely says, "No, you're the first." If he had said it in a sarcastic (that is, openly derisive) tone, that would be sarcasm. If he had said it in a normal tone, and added something like, "In fact, I'd like people to do it all the time," there would be a hint of mocking, also making it sarcasm. But since he said it the way he did, it's just an example of verbal irony.

One non-sarcastic form of verbal irony is the "ironic simile". A common example would be the expression "clear as mud"; the message conveyed is the polar opposite of the adjective used, and this is made clear by the fact that the noun used for comparison is obviously not something possessing that quality.

Now, what about lying? Though it may at first seem as though they may overlap, this is not really the case. Verbal irony has the intention of getting the meaning across. As in the example from About a Boy, he did mean that they were not the first, but that he was being nice about it. In the case of most lies, the intention is not to give that hint; it's just outright deception.


This is basically letting the audience in on something of which one or more characters is unaware. Thus any actions or words from the character about this thing are ironic to the audience, because we know better.

Take the Disney version of Sleeping Beauty. Prince Phillip meets Briar Rose, but neither of them knows that other is royalty (and Briar Rose doesn't even know she is, herself). The Prince's father is horrified to learn that Phillip wants to marry a commoner, and it seems as though they can't be together, but we know who Briar Rose really is, so we know that they can.

So this literally applies any time the audience is in on something, and watching characters react without knowing what the audience knows. Often a key part of a screwball comedy, but it can just as easily be played for drama or tragedy, such as in Shakespeare's Othello, where the audience knows that Iago is lying long before the characters do.

Another way to create opportunities for Dramatic Irony in a story is to alter the chronology of its telling, by making use of Flashbacks or doing the whole tale Back to Front. This style allows characters to make promises that the audience already knows were ultimately broken.

Dramatic Irony has its own trope page.


In truth, a more fitting term would be "Expectational Irony", since that is what it covers. Situational Irony is when the outcome of some situation or action is the exact opposite of the expected or intended outcome.

A man who is accused of being gay tries to prove he isn't by discussing his muscles and virility with his (male) friends, however this comes across as an attempt to flirt with them.

Take the trope Failsafe Failure, for example. The expectation is for safety features to ensure that something is, well, safe, and then the safety feature itself turns out to be dangerous.

Or see the tropes The Cobbler's Children Have No Shoes and Self-Fulfilling Prophecy.

This, in a nutshell, is what people mean, or think they mean, when they say "that's so ironic."


This is a specific type of dramatic irony, usually found in a Tragedy, Film Noir, or in general a story with a Downer Ending. The character's words or even actions are not ironic to them (or perhaps anyone in the story), but the audience is fully aware that their actions will bring about a tragic or deadly result, all while they ostensibly fight against such a result.

A tragedy can have dramatic irony in it without being tragic irony; tragic irony depends on the audience knowing how the story ends ahead of time. This might be intentionally produced by a Framing Device, such as making the whole piece a Flashback so the audience sees the end first ("Two households, both alike in dignity..."), or it might be unintentional because the end of the movie becomes very well known, or somewhere in between those two, or it could simply be a story whose ending the viewer is expected to already know about from everyday life (such as Pearl Harbor, Titanic or The Passion of the Christ).

For example: Charles wants to save his father from being jailed for "helping" commit a murder he was framed for. In the process of clearing his father's name, Charles discovers that his father was innocent of that crime, but guilty of murdering Charles' mother, thus beginning the entire torturous process of trials, jail time, and eventual execution, as well as Charles learning something unforgivable about his father.

This would be Tragic Irony if the audience knew from the start that the father had murdered his wife (say, if it were shown early in the film) and could foresee that investigating the father would lead to that discovery. If the audience discovered that fact at the same time as Charles, then it becomes situational irony (at least, the first time you watch the film) because the viewers and Charles suddenly realize that everyone would have been better off if he had never started investigating.


Basically, the universe is screwing with you. The difference between this and situational irony is a matter of degree, but if it causes a mess of some sort, it's usually this.

Take A Simple Plan. It's situational in that the expectation is of course simplicity, but the way things tend to just snowball, often through no fault of the initiator, is this version.

The fact that most Self-Fulfilling Prophecies are caused by the very act of trying to prevent them.


This is any of the above (save for Socratic), through hindsight. We know it happened, and unless we don't get the cultural causes, we know why it was ironic.

Take the Oracle at Delphi's prophecy to Croesus that if the king went to war, he would "destroy a great empire." Since the empire that was destroyed was his own, it's a case of situational irony for Croesus (who chose to attack based on this supposed encouragement; his opponent was Persia, also a great empire at the time), verbal irony from the Oracle (who is entirely aware that Croesus will misinterpret her)note , tragic irony for the audience (who already know how this is going to go), and possibly cosmic irony (for those who believe in hubris, like many Ancient Greeks did), but since it's in the history books, it's also historical irony.

For some more lighthearted examples of historical irony, see This Is Going to Be Huge and It Will Never Catch On.


"Sort of like gold-y and bronze-y, but made of iron."

Joking aside, irony does have a metallurgical definition, and predates the more generally accepted use of irony by at least 100 years. Irony, as a term having to do with the metal iron, is pronounced "ai-er-nee" (rather than "ai-ruh-nee").

Irony is a Super Trope to...:


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  • The Misaimed Marketing trope is full of unfortunate examples of ironies caused by marketing strategy.
  • A commercial for Cliff's Notes has a pair of teenagers attending a festival where the local firefighters put on a display for fire prevention. A mishap causes the firefighters' display to catch fire. One of the teenagers consults his Cliff's Notes for Fahrenheit 451 and points out the irony.
  • A 2014 commercial for 7Up shows a pickup truck with a flat tire. The truck is overloaded with used tires. The announcer says "If we can pack this much irony into one scene, we can pack genuine 7Up flavor into ten calories."
  • An announcement at E3 for Skyrim on the Nintendo Switch used the song "Take a Walk" by Passion Pit. However someone forgot to tell the marketing director that song was actually about a businessman burdened by financial troubles.

    Anime & Manga 
  • A Certain Magical Index:
    • Index had her memories erased regularly, to prevent them overloading her mind (actually a lie to keep her under control). Touma removes the need for this... only to get his memories erased. By a (brainwashed) Index, no less.
    • Accelerator kills over ten thousand Sisters with the goal of increasing his own power. After being stopped, he later chooses to save a particular Sister. He devotes all of his power to doing so, which drops his normally-impregnable defense and allows someone to shoot him in the head. He survives, but with brain damage that would normally leave him unable to walk, talk or use his ability. To regain these functions, he's dependent on a device that uses the brainpower of the very same Sisters he'd been killing.
  • A Certain Scientific Railgun:
    • Mikoto sees one of her clones get brutally murdered by Accelerator. There's a brief flashback to before she knew about the clones, discussing the possibility with Kuroko.
      Kuroko: What would you do if a clone of yours appeared before you?
      Mikoto: Ah, that would freak me out. I think I would wish it would just disappear.
      [present]: Mikoto goes ballistic on Accelerator
    • One of the Breather Episodes of the Sisters arc involves Kuroko learning that it's okay to rely on her friends, and that trying to do everything herself just causes problems. Cut to Mikoto, who is fighting a one-woman war against the Level 6 Shift project.
  • Reiner in Attack on Titan is described by his instructor as having incredible willpower and mental fortitude and others rely on him, considering him stable and reliable. Not only is Reiner a mole, he is the Armored Titan who is completely invulnerable due to his armor plating and is mentally and emotionally unstable due to Becoming the Mask and is the least sane out of the Titan infiltrators.
    • Eren has an all-consuming hate for Titans. He finds out he is a Titan shifter and several friends turn out to be the very Titans he hated the most — and worse, he became a Titan Shifter by eating his dad, who was also a shifter. Furthermore, Eren has the ability to command regular Titans.
    • Human characters struggle with becoming monsters to effectively fight against the Titans. The monsters (Titan shifters) struggle with their humanity which decreases their ability to fight effectively.
  • Bleach had a moment of irony during the Fake Karakura Town arc. Kaname Tousen had been fighting Sajin Komamura, and revealed that he had gained hollow powers which, to Tousen's surprise, allowed him to see. However, as he was about to finish Sajin off, Hisagi attacked from behind, before remarking that Tousen would've dodged the attack easily if he hadn't been distracted (and, in effect, blinded) by his newfound sight.
  • Code Geass:
    • A case occurs early on when nobody can figure out who Zero is, but Lelouch almost gets unmasked by a cat.
  • Lelouch's entire plan to save the world was based on an attempt to make it 'gentler' for his sister Nunnally. He cares about this plan so much he sacrifices his own life for it, but as he lies dying in front of her, she tells him that the only kind of world she ever wanted was one where they could live together.
  • Also ironic is that at the beginning of the series, Lelouch took on the title of Zero, to become a symbol of Justice against the Britannian emperors tyranny, while Suzaku had joined the military hoping to change Britannia from within. At the end of the series, Suzaku and Lelouch had Their roles switched. Suzaku became Zero, as a symbol of Justice, never to live again as Suzaku Kururugi, while Lelouch became the Britannian Emperor, and gave his life in the process of changing the system from within.
  • Prince Clovis became viceroy of Area 11 in order to make it peaceful for his deceased brother, Lelouch. Lelouch isn't dead, Clovis is an incompetent ruler - which he realized - and through his incompetence, Area 11 grows more violent. And Lelouch is the one who assassinates him for it.
  • Jeremiah Gottwald is dead-set on his mission to assert Britannian superiority against the rebellion because he believes that it's what Lady Marianne and her children would want. The masked terrorist who has him disgraced is actually Lady Marianne's son. Though he remedies it in the second season. Note the parallels between the parade scenes in season 1 stage 4 and season 2's final turn.
  • While Hell's Gate dolls powers out at random in Darker Than Black, it seems to have a strong sense of irony in terms of who gets what or what price they must pay. Examples: The lesbian Mina Hazuki must french kiss men as her Remuneration; November 11 abhors smoking, so that's naturally what he must do every time he uses his powers; August 7's Reality Warping powers would sure have come in handy in his profession as a magician... if he didn't have to reveal the secret behind a similar stage trick immediately after, that is; and the one Contractor who gets to temporarily regain her conscience and humanity as her price? Her power is liquefying people's internal organs.
  • DARLING in the FRANXX has a tragic case. In Episodes 12 and 13, we learn that Zero Two met a little boy when she was a little girl. She thinks killing enough Klaxosaurs will make her a human and let her stay with that boy, and she doesn't care how many partners she has to kill in the process to do it. We learn this during a flashback while she's killing her current partner, Hiro, who happens to be the boy in question.
  • Dragon Ball:
    • Red Ribbon Army arc, the commander of the Red Ribbon Army wants to obtain all seven Dragonballs so he can make a wish to be taller, sacrificing hundreds of his men to do so. In retaliation, his second in command shoots him. In Dragon Ball Online, which takes place over 200 years after that event, it is revealed that Dr. Gero took the commander's body and modified him into a mindless android. As a result, he now stands at least twice as tall as the player character.
    • Commander Red hiring Mercenary Tao to kill Goku ended up destroying the Red Ribbon Army since Tao killed Bora on a whim, which made Goku go after all of the Dragon Balls. Before then, Goku was only interested in the 4-star ball.
    • One has to be familiar with Dragon Ball Z to fully appreciate the irony of the Goku versus King Piccolo fight. Both are aliens who have long forgotten their real names and were sent to Earth to save their lives. The big twist, Goku came from a race of ruthless warriors who were also planet destroyers. Piccolo, or more correctly the Nameless Namek, came from a peaceful, benevolent race. After becoming infected by humanity Goku became a good person while Piccolo became corrupted. In another world and time, Goku would have been the conqueror and Piccolo would have been the savior. Piccolo Jr. even points out the irony of dedicating his entire life to avenging his father and killing Goku, only to die protecting Goku's son.
    • In the manga, Piccolo toyed with the idea of corrupting Gohan and turning him against his father. But instead, the opposite ended up happening with Gohan's Incorruptible Pure Pureness changing Piccolo and him becoming one of Goku's True Companions.
    • Frieza wiped out all the Saiyans because he was afraid that he will be beaten by a Super Saiyan. He was defeated by Goku, and ultimately killed by Future Trunks, both who are Super Saiyans. The true irony in the former case is that it was Frieza's own actions, killing Krillin and Vegeta, nearly killing Piccolo, and threatening to kill Gohan drove Goku into the Super Saiyan state. In essence, if Frieza hadn't been stupid enough to twist the knife, he probably wouldn't have had to deal with the thing he was most afraid of.
    • The Episode of Bardock special reveals that Bardock was sent back to the past and became the Legendary Super Saiyan. Meaning that Frieza was responsible for creating the very legend upon which he destroyed the Saiyan race for, and eventually his own death.
    • In Dragon Ball Minus it is revealed that Frieza recalled all the Saiyans to their home planet so he could kill them all at once. This clued Bardock in that something was wrong and sent Goku into space to space. If Frieza hadn't decided to give the order, Goku would have never left Vegeta.
    • Bojack's last words are "you fool, any last words before you die?!"
    • In the Cell Saga, Cell exploits Vegeta's pride and Blood Knight tendencies to convince him to attain his Perfect form to have a better fight, upon which he utterly trounces Vegeta. Afterwards, Trunks tries Hulking Out to take on Cell, only to discover that his increased muscle mass made him too slow to actually keep up with Cell, a realization that Cell quickly mocks him for. In the Cell Games, Cell's own pride and Blood Knight tendencies are what lead him to deliberately piss Gohan off enough to reach Super Saiyan 2 to have a better challenge, upon which Gohan utterly trounces him. Furthermore, during his Villainous Breakdown, Cell tries Hulking Out himself to beat Gohan, only to be too slow to actually do so; in this case, Trunks even flat-out states that Cell is making the exact same mistake that he had previously mocked Trunks for.
    • In a series where Death Is Cheap, only a single non-deity character in the series survived to the end of Dragon Ball Z without dying once: Mr. Satan, the Fake Ultimate Hero and Joke Character.
    • Despite Vegeta's desire to become stronger than Goku, the latter has never actually defeated him. In almost any match they fought is either interrupted or have Vegeta gain the upper hand. So the only reason Vegeta actually wants to be better is simply wounded pride that Goku could suddenly become better than him.
    • In Trunks' timeline, Androids 17 and 18 were ruthless killing machines that turn the world into a post-apocalyptic wasteland. In the main timeline, not only were they Anti Villains that didn't really do anything evil and eventually performed a fairly drama-free Heel–Face Turn, but in Dragon Ball Super Android 17 ends up being the savior of the entire multiverse.
  • Fairy Tail:
    • At the end of the Tartaros arc, it's revealed (to the audience) that the most powerful of the demons from the Books of Zeref, E.N.D., is the amnesiac Natsu Dragneel. Of whom Mard Geer (E.N.D.'s faithful Dragon, who was trying to revive him) spent most of the last act of the arc trying to kill. The only one even aware of the irony of the situation is Zeref himself.
    • The Fiore Royal Family blames Zeref for Acnologia's transformation into a dragon. That's actually the one thing Zeref isn't responsible for in some way. For further irony, a lot of things Zeref was responsible for were the results of his plan to defeat Acnologia.
  • In Fullmetal Alchemist, Truth appears to like irony. Edward wants to support his family, so Truth takes his leg. Alphonse wants to feel his mother's embrace, so Truth takes his ability to feel. Izumi wants to have a child, so Truth takes away her fertility. Mustang has a vision for the country, and Truth takes away his eyesight. Father/Dwarf in the Flask/Homunculus didn't want to be a prisoner to anyone so Truth traps him behind the Gate of Truth. See a pattern?
  • In Full Metal Panic! TSR:
    • It's pretty ironic that Ax-Crazy Gauron of all people would call Gates "one hell of a nutcase." Especially considering that he was perfectly serious when he was saying it. And yes, this is coming from the man who canonically wanted to kill Sōsuke and "fuck his corpse up the ass."
    • When it comes to Gauron, irony pulls double shifts. For instance, within Amalgam (an organization whose main members all have code names of metals which are chemically able to form amalgams with Mercury), Gauron's code name is Mr. Iron, a metal that is, in fact, not able to amalgamate with mercury at all. (It is, however, very resilient and highly magnetic. Draw the parallels as you see fit...) It is mentioned in the later novels that Gauron had been given this name as a petty little in-joke, meant to set him apart as "not really one of us". After TSR, though, it became painfully obvious that the joke was in fact on Amalgam, as Gauron betrays them to Sōsuke. The consequences of his betrayal are still being felt a couple of novels later. Not one of us, indeed.
    • Yet more irony that involves Gauron: In Sōsuke's life, it seems that every single one the men who eventually became close friends with him started out as his mortal enemy that he was trying to assassinate. Examples: Majid, whom Sōsuke was sent to assassinate (though his attempt failed), only to take a liking to Sōsuke and adopt him as his own son. He was described as an incredibly kind foster father to him — someone Sōsuke would always respect. Kalinin, whom originally was Sōsuke's enemy, since he was in the KGB and Sōsuke was an Afghan Guerilla — Sōsuke even tried to kill him, only to get kidnapped by him. Again, Kalinin treated him well, and liked him ever since the beginning (as he took a liking to Sōsuke ever since he rescued the boy as a baby), eventually resulting in Kalinin legally adopting Sōsuke as his son. Kurz, who was revealed to have been hired as a mercenary on the opposite side of Sōsuke in Lebanon, before either joined Mithril. They almost ended up killing each other, and ended up developing a great amount of respect for each other, each claiming that the other was the strongest opponent they faced (despite being in Arm Slaves, meaning they didn't even see either's face). And then there's Gauron... who was actually one of the few main male characters who met Sōsuke not as an enemy. And it was Love at First Sight for the crazy guy, resulting in his attempt at picking the boy up and taking him to his camp, which was rejected. And so, despite being one of the few guys who first met Sōsuke on semi-amiable terms, he turns out to be the guy Sōsuke hates most.
  • Miaka of Fushigi Yuugi is not fond of books very much. And then she ends up in one.
  • In Hayate the Combat Butler, Hayate does not believe any girl could ever like him. The dramatic irony here is, EVERY girl likes him. Situational irony also occurs in the manga on Valentine's Day, when Hayate is talking to Maria. Hayate tells her all the reasons he feels like he will never get a girlfriend (Which are identical to the reasons she doesn't have a boyfriend) and believes he is not in any position to ever get one. Maria contemplates this afterward and realizes that the only man she can get and is interested in is Hayate. Too bad her Ojou is also interested in him...
  • Dogma of Hell's Kitchen has cross-shaped pupils... and is a demon.
  • Kamichama Karin: Kazune has the power of the sun god Apollo, but he sunburns easily. Micchi has the power of the sea god Neptune, but he can't swim at all.
  • In Katekyō Hitman Reborn!:
    • It's rather ironic that Rokudo Mukuro, who hates the mafia more than anything else and would rather die than get captured by them, eventually becomes Tsuna's guardian.
    • It's also become very ironic when the series keeps claiming that "no-good Tsuna" is ugly and that no girl would want him... when he looks like this after Art Evolution. Extra irony when he's become the fandom's LOATS that's apparently wanted by everyone - ESPECIALLY the men.
    • Rokudo Mukuro's main goal is to pull a Grand Theft Me on Tsuna and then proceed to destroy the mafia, and yet Daemon Spade's whole plan consists of doing the same thing, only via taking over Mukuro instead of Tsuna.
    • Tsuna is the only one who can see through Reborn's various Paper-Thin Disguise when no one else can. In later chapters, he is the only one who doesn't recognize Reborn's adult form.
  • Kill la Kill: Satsuki Kiryuin mocks Ryuko Matoi for having a goal as base and meaningless as avenging her father's death. Satsuki's own goal is to avenge her father and baby sister, who were both killed by her mother. Ryuko is that sister. Their father secretly saved her, then faked his death and took on a new identity to raise her.
  • Lyrical Nanoha:
    • Fate spent most of the first season as a criminal being pursued by the TSAB due to her attempts to earn the love of her psychic mother. Not only did she grow up to be a highly respected member of the TSAB, she was Happily Adopted by the captain of the TSAB ship that captured her.
    • In the original Triangle Heart 3: Sweet Songs Forever continuity, Nanoha's father died before she was born. In the main Lyrical Nanoha continuity, she's the only major character to be raised by both of her biological parents.
    • Nanoha (a huge proponent in The Power of Friendship) was born on March 15th (a day most famous for a guy being murdered by his friend). To take the irony even further, it's also the day of a Shito festival that features the procession of a giant wooden phallus, and she's a lesbian.
    • A's:
      • The Wolkenritter were the ones who gave Hayate the will to live, yet they were -through no fault of their own- the cause of her terminal illness. To make it even more ironic, their plan to save her life would have killed everyone.
      • Hayate spent a good chunk of her childhood as a friendless orphan, yet she was at her absolute loneliest while literally surrounded by friends and family.
      • At the end of the season, Hayate says that she'll be Nanoha and Fate's junior in the TSAB. Come StrikerS, she's their superior officer.
    • StrikerS:
      • Quattro has the least amount of cybernetic implants among the Numbers, and yet she is the most inhuman.
      • Similarly, Subaru being a combat cyborg makes her the least normal of the Forwards, yet she was the only one with a normal childhood.
      • Dieci wondering if Nanoha is even human after the latter Curb Stomps her is a double case of this. Not only is Nanoha one of the only mages at her level who is a baseline human, but Dieci herself is a genetically modified combat cyborg.
      • During the attack on the Ground Forces HQ, Otto and Deed were responsible for kidnapping Vivio. Guess who end up joining the Saint Church (which worships the woman that Vivio was cloned from) after their Heel-Face Turns?
      • Erio views Fate as a mother and Caro sees her as an older sister. From a legal standpoint, she's Caro's mother and Erio's sister (since she was too young to formally adopt him).
      • Despite being the Token Good Teammate of the Numbers, Dieci ended up having one of the longest sentences among those who underwent a Heel–Face Turn (second only to Cinque, who was guilty of at least one murder).
    • ViVid Strike!:
      • Rinne pushes herself to be the strongest out of the fear that being perceived as "weak" would cause her to lose everyone she cares about. This very mindset ended up destroying her friendship with her Childhood Friend Fuka.
      • She also accuses Vivio of being a spoon-fed girl by birth who never experienced any hardship, unaware of the fact that Vivio is adopted and had gone through a hell of a lot worse than the bullying that she had to deal with.
      • Jill believes that Hard Work Hardly Works, which puts her at odds with Nove (who thinks than anyone can excel at martial arts if they have the right training). Jill is a baseline human who earned her skill via Training from Hell, and Nove is a combat cyborg.
    • A consistent part of Nanoha's backstory across every single continuity is that she comes from a family of skilled swordsmen. The only continuity where she has said swordsmanship training is INNOCENT, a series where all the fighting is in a virtual reality card game that would render said skills useless.
      • In addition, it is correct to assume that growing up in a family of swordsmen would make Nanoha skilled in melee combat, especially with swords. However, in all continuities, Nanoha acquires skills and becomes very proficient in ranged combat.
  • Magi: The Labyrinth of Magic:
    • While secretly investigating Magnostadt as a student and forced to hide his powers, Aladdin is remarked to possess "just above average" magoi. He is actually one of the Magi who is able to use and wield unlimited amount of magoi.
    • Hakuryuu is presented as a contrast to the rest of his siblings who are war-mongering and imperialist. Then it turns out he could care less about the Kou empire and only wants to kill his mother for murdering his father and two brothers, not caring who stands in his way, leading him down a dark path and making him worse than any of his siblings.
  • In Mazinkaiser, the Mycene send one of their generals to attack Koji before he can ride his mecha, Mazinkaiser. Said general is stopped by someone piloting a different mecha. Thus, the plan to kill The Hero before he gets on his mecha is stopped by a Joke Character riding a mecha.
  • Miss Kobayashi's Dragon Maid:
    • Tohru is a chaos aligned dragon who hates gods, yet she has dedicated her life to serving as Kobayashi's maid (a job that involves keeping things orderly) and one of her closest friends is a (former) goddess.
    • Despite being a high ranking Chaos Dragon, Tohru's father is the only one who abides by the Alien Non-Interference Clause.
    • Elma is a harmony dragon who's supposed to keep order, yet her introduction featured her causing chaos by smashing through the wall of Kobayashi's apartment. By contrast, all of the Chaos Dragons (and the one neutral one) were polite enough to use the front door.
    • Ilulu is the only dragon who has openly admitted to love humans, yet she's the only one that never mastered the ability to look like one.
  • Mobile Suit Gundam Wing:
    • Early on in the series, Duo locates the sunken, damaged Wing Gundam and decides to take it for his backup supply. Two episodes later, Wing has been salvaged but needs to be repaired overnight for a new mission despite a lack of spare parts. Heero manages it anyway, which amazes Duo until he finds out that Heero stole the needed parts from his Gundam, Deathscythe. Though Duo's reaction is only aimed at the treachery because he was complementing Heero's work just moments prior.
    • Also from episode four, Noin tells Zechs that her new graduate soldiers "aren't ever going to be killed in battle". She was right, but not for the reasons she thought...
  • Naruto:
    • In the Chuunin Exams arc, the exam participants are given an extremely difficult written test; so difficult, in fact, that most of the participants are forced to cheat in order to pass. The only participant who is shown not to have cheated is Sakura Haruno, who is smart enough to understand and answer the questions fairly. As it turns out, the point of the test was to see how skilled the participants were at secretly gathering information i.e. how well they could cheat without getting caught. In other words, Sakura passed the test by unwittingly ignoring the actual objective of the test. Naruto didn't know any of the answers, but still refused to cheat and managed to pass due to the Secret Test of Character, so he also passed despite ignoring the actual objective of the test. He passed by turning in a blank test, which is also ironic.
    • The first time that the village openly showed respect for Naruto was after his fight with Neji, a fight that he won by using the same power that they hated him for. And the point where he was accepted as a hero was during his fight against Pain, where he gave into the power of the fox (the very thing that people were afraid of the entire time).
    • When Sakura gave her infamous fake love confession to Naruto as a way to make him stop chasing Sasuke, he told her that he hates people who lie to themselves. As it turns out, he's been unconsciously, yet unintentionally, lying to himself over his own affections for Sakura, as he never actually cared for her as anything more than a close friend or older sister, but thought he loved her because he figured if he got Sakura, the girl who loved Sasuke, to love him, he'd be beating out Sasuke at something for once—which was implied back in Chapter 3.
    • Tobi mocks Kakashi's Sharingan as a "borrowed power", while he was himself fighting with five borrowed powers at the time, namely Hashirama's cells, Madara's Rinnegan, Madara's chakra rods, six jinchuriki zombies resurrected by Kabuto, and six tailed beasts. He had even been using a borrowed name for a long time.
    • After the Final Battle with Sasuke at the series' end, Naruto's longtime goal of having Sasuke acknowledge a loss to him gets fulfilled, the latter admitting defeat in the face of Naruto's determination. However, Naruto not only doesn't care about that at this point but actually gets angry at Sasuke for seemingly acting like it's still a matter of winning or losing.
    • It took years for Hinata to finally confess her love to Naruto, who couldn't comprehend both her feelings and his own as romantic due to him being Oblivious to Love and not truly understanding the concept of romantic love, although it's later confirmed that he also never thought someone like Hinata would genuinely love him for him, due to his past plaguing him with insecurities. Come The Last: Naruto the Movie, Naruto finally understands what romantic love actually means, which helps him realize the true nature of his feelings for Hinata. As a result, he Cannot Spit It Out that he's in love with her, while Hinata doesn't notice his very obvious feelings. He does eventually spit it out via Freudian Slip, only for Hinata to be unable to respond to his Love Confession due to Toneri's intervention.
      • Naruto has the ability to transform into an army of naked women and spent years with Jiraiya, a huge pervert. You'd think he'd notice that arguably the most beautiful girl he knows, Hinata, is attracted to him.
  • Neon Genesis Evangelion has the so-called "big irony bomb". In episode 2, Misato said she won't "put the moves on a kid". Cut to episode 23, and later End of Evangelion, and...she does. Well, maybe.
  • In One Piece:
    • Monkey D. Luffy's first voyage as a pirate was to drop Coby off at a base to become a Marine.
    • The main reason why Buggy didn't join Shanks twenty-two years ago was because he believed Shanks didn't have what it took to make it as a pirate due to his personality. Fast forward to the start of the series and Shanks is one of the four most powerful pirates in the world while Buggy is raiding small towns in East Blue, the weakest sea.
    • In Sanji's flashback, him and Zeff narooned on an island, and Zeff had a bag of treasure with him. Naturally, having all the money in the world doesn't matter when when you're dying of hunger.
      Zeff: Having money but nothing to eat. Funny story, don't you think?
    • This was how most of Doflamingo's executives are defeated. Sugar who can create toys is defeated by a toy. Machvise (whose fighting style is basically slamming his enemies with downward force) is sent flying upwards. Diamante is taken out by a gravestone of a person he had murdered. Trebol's No Sense of Personal Space backfires on them when they decided to crush their opponent up and personal and said opponent used their power to cut their chest. Pica attacked all the weakened fighters to prevent them from attacking him but by turning his back on the remaining fighters, they combined strengths to defeat him.
  • Ouran Highschool Host Club:
    • A lot of this in the series, though a big one is probably how Tamaki spends a good lot of the show fantasizing about a girly Haruhi and doing his best to transform her into such, and continuously failing, all for randomness and comedic purposes to the viewers/readers. However, as the story progresses and Haruhi finds herself in love with him (while he remains completely clueless to this), she gradually turns more into a woman, all of her own. Benibara from the Zuka club points this out in Chapter 82, shortly after Haruhi and Tamaki have become a couple, that she now "totally and utterly looks like a girl". So in the end, Tamaki did succeed in making Haruhi more feminine, it just happened when he wasn't trying to.
    • Also, when Haruhi first realizes her feelings for Tamaki, she briefly gets depressed when thinking how she looks like a boy, and subsequently thinks how Tamaki only sees her as his daughter. Yep, you read it right.
    • This is played straight when a transfer student named Kanoya arrives at their school, who is introduced when Tamaki saves her from getting kicked by a horse, causing her to crush on him and continuously sticking with him the following days. The rest of the Host Club notice she bears some distinct physical resemblence to Haruhi, and to add to it, she's completely onboard with Tamaki's "romantic fantasies" they present to her, making them realize it's the "real-life version" of the imaginary Haruhi in Tamaki's mind. Tamaki however, states he doesn't think they're similar at all, and shows no interest in her whatsoever.
    • In an early chapter, an author note states "I can't see Haruhi and Tamaki getting together." The second-to-last page of the entire series is of Haruhi and Tamaki on their wedding day, with an author note stating "Of course, I think the two will get married."
    • Also, when Tamaki keeps referring to himself and Haruhi getting married after they've become a couple, Haruhi frantically reminds him that they're too young and marriage is far away in the future. However, jugding by the bonus page that actually shows them getting married they don't appear to have aged much, and if the online translation of the "Ghost Special" where they're all college students is to be trusted, Tamaki is referred to as Haruhi's husband there, meaning they waited no longer than two years. Awww.
    • The first Host Club member to get married is Honey! To a member of the Dark Magic Club! Didn't see that one coming, did you?
  • Pokémon Special:
    • Bianca gets considerably less screentime than her game or anime counterparts. This ends up fleshing out her character more as well as making her more sympathetic as she laments over the fact that she really is a weak trainer who didn't accomplish much on her journey.
    • Giratina's Shadow Force would likely kill any ordinary human, but Diamond attempting to sacrifice his life on two separate occasions is actually what gives him immunity to it, allowing him to survive.
  • Pokémon Heroes is considered to be among the darkest of the Pokemon movies. It takes place at a bright and colorful City of Canals.
  • Homura gets slapped with this in Puella Magi Madoka Magica the Movie: Rebellion very cruelly. After spending over a decade rewinding time over and over in an attempt to save Madoka in the main series, she succeeds when Madoka becomes a god and is finally able to live happily. Then in the film, Homura turns into a witch thanks to the Incubators' interference and promptly tears her former friend down from godhood to steal her divine power, becoming Madoka's greatest enemy beyond anything that Homura had once tried to save her from in the process and conflicting with her once-sole motivation.
  • In Sailor Moon Sailor Venus has multiple parallels with the Roman Goddess of Love, including her tendency to bring couples together by simply being around. Her luck in love is so horrible the first youma she killed was her crush, and she also later killed her one true love. The fact she realizes it is part of the reason she's Married to the Job.
  • In School-Live!, in a flashback, Megumi is lectured that she is not cut out to be a teacher and is often called out by "tougher" characters like her mother and the Vice Principal. She turns out to be the best teacher the girls could hope for, having enough luck and common sense to survive the initial outbreak. She implements a scheme that preserves the girls' shaky sanity and she made the ultimate sacrifice to protect the children under her care.
  • Exa from Superior strictly abides by the rule of Thou Shalt Not Kill, yet his goal is to kill the demon queen that wiped out his home village (who, unbeknownst to him, is his traveling companion and Love Interest Sheila). To make it even more ironic, he ends up saving her life after finding out her identity.
  • In Tegami Bachi, during Zazie's backstory, the person who tries to convince him that the people who are claiming to be his parents are telling the truth is the cruel and two-faced orphan matron who was the cause of his trust issues. She turns out to be right, in the end.
  • In Toradora!, Taiga at one point chews out Ami's stalker for taking pictures of her without her permission, despite the fact that she herself has a large stash of pictures she's surreptitiously taken of Kitamura.
  • In Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D's, Jack leaves Carly to protect her from the Dark Signers. This directly results in her investigating them, which leads to her death and a Dark Signer.
  • In Yu-Gi-Oh! ARC-V:
    • Reiji wants to stop his Well-Intentioned Extremist father from fusing dimensions. His father has invaded other dimensions, used child soldiers, using propaganda to manipulate some of his own forces (as confirmed by Serena), and is willing to hurt dozens of people to get what he wants. Reiji's methods to stop him involve doing everything his father does, though on a much smaller scale. Reiji just believes that what he's doing is for the greater good.
    • Yuya is Fun Personified and his life's goal is to make people happy when they see his duels. Naturally, his Superpowered Evil Side traumatized several opponents and and audience, worries all of Yuya's friends, and leaves Yuya feeling terrible.
    • As a meta case, Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D's is frequently called the darkest incarnation of the franchise, while Yugioh Zexal is called the lightest. The Yuya-counterpart of the Synchro Dimension which is based on the former is a goofy Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass whereas the Zexal-based Xyz Dimension has its counterpart being a melancholic Knight in Sour Armour.

  • Bill Cosby's '60s standup album Revenge has multiple cases from his own childhood:
    • In the title track, Bill plans to hit Harold with a snowball, only for Junior Barnes to hit him with one instead (prompting Bill to complain in much the same way Harold always does). Bill ends up saving a snowball in his freezer, but when he goes to use it against Junior Barnes in the middle of July, he discovers his mother had found it and thrown it away. (Undaunted, he spits on Junior Barnes instead.)
    • In "Buck, Buck", Bill is taken in by a prank involving a statue of Frankenstein's monster. When he tries to help play the same prank on Fat Albert, it backfires on him:
    "I forgot I was behind him."
    • Then they take him to the hospital and put him next to "a wino who was run over by two kids". In the previous track, "9th Street Bridge", Bill and Harold ran into a wino in the dark, mistaking him for a monster and trampling him as they ran away. Furthermore, it was posted on a page that explains what are and what are not examples of irony.
  • Part of Jeff Dunham's act, usually happening when he brings Peanut out, describes an occasion when he noticed that someone, against all logic, had brought deaf people and a signer to a ventriloquist act, apparently without a trace of irony in their heart (but plenty in their situation). Not one to let irony go unpunished, Peanut first begins gibbering nonsense and then mouths vigorously without actually saying anything, driving the deaf people nuts as the signer isn't translating anything that's being "said".

    Comic Books 
  • The first appearance of Captain America featured him punching out Hitler. Cap's secret identity, Steve Rogers, has blond hair, blue eyes, and after taking the Super Serum is a specimen that anyone would be happy to call ubermensch.
    • The origin of the Super Soldier Serum underwent some retconning in the 90s, which added an extra layer of irony: the scientist working on the serum was in fact a Nazi agent, using American resources to perfect the serum, and he was killed by a different spy who wasn't in on the charade. So a Nazi scientist actually created the ubermensch, who spent his career kicking fascist ass up and down the globe.
  • Concrete is hired to be a spokesperson for a controversial radical population control program in The Human Dilemma because he is "race-neutral, childless, and sterile". We already know from An Armchair Stuffed With Dynamite that he's not race-neutral, but it gets better. Guess who somehow ends up pregnant the night before accepting the job?
  • In Death of the Family, The Joker is using this to create very darkly comedic crimes based after his first crimes. An example is when he threatens to kill the mayor at midnight, who is hiding in City Hall. Everyone in City Hall but the mayor dies, excluding Batman and Gordon.
  • One of Freelance Peacekeeping Agent Death's Head's early cases is when he is hired by a group of rebels to assassinate an oppressive king. During the hit, Death's Head discovers he was actually set up by the King as part of an ongoing ruse to stop assassins before the real rebels can hire them. Peeved, Death's Head proceeds to kill all of the guards and the King — completing the original contract.
  • Diabolik examples:
    • The rarely used Running Gag of the titular Villain Protagonist, the world's best thief, finding out that someone has stolen something from him (usually his car, but sometimes it's something from one of his hideouts or, in one occasion, jewels from the boat he was on) without even realizing they were dealing with Diabolik. Lampshaded by his lover Eva usually laughing about it.
    • The whole plot of the story "Mocking Diabolik": to protect some gold statues that Diabolik wants to steal and will have to be moved before the Diabolik-proof room at the museum is ready, Ginko stole a bunch of Diabolik gadgets confiscated by the police and used them to steal the statues first, so that Diabolik will search them everywhere but at the museum while the Diabolik-proof room is completed.
  • Empowered is about a superheroine who is almost always the Damsel in Distress.
    • An extra layer is added by, despite her being derided as an incompetent because of this, she is really one of the most noble and selfless heroes in the setting, unlike the idiots and Glory Hounds that most of the other heroes are.
  • Forever Evil
    • Lex Luthor watches as the Crime Syndicate of America takes over Earth and utters one line you'd never expect him to say.
    Lex Luthor: This looks like a job for Superman. So, where the hell is he?!
    • Lex Luthor's Injustice League, which would otherwise be a classic Legion of Doom, having to save the day.
  • The Incredible Hulk has General "Thunderbolt" Ross, who will stop at nothing while trying to stop the Hulk, even hulkifying himself and his daughter (becoming Red Hulk and Red She-Hulk, respectively). However, Red Hulk has his own General Ripper, General Fortean, Ross' former apprentice, who blames Red Hulk for Ross' death, as he is unaware that Red Hulk is Ross.
  • In Judge Dredd, this is where a good portion of the humor is derived from, a lot of it being of the Self-Fulfilling Prophecy and Hoist by His Own Petard variety. One of the most lasting pieces of subtle irony is how Mega-City One's city wall, originally ordered built by Chief Judge Cal to keep the citizens from escaping (so he could kill them), has since become used as an integral part of the city's defense and protection against any foreign threats and invasions.
    • Whenever a story focuses on a robot, computer or similar machine, there will almost always be disaster, tragedy and multiple deaths because the machine is too capable and/or too self-aware and empathic. The reason robots are programmed to be sentient, aware and empathetic? To help people more effectively.
    • One story focusing on Mega-City's extreme unemployment problem had a man go on a shooting spree after he was fired from a post he'd held for years. Judge Dredd arrested him... and sentenced him to several years of hard labor, to the man's great delight. Dredd reflects that for once, he was able to use the law to bring a bit of happiness.
  • In the various versions of Spider-Man, the protagonist finds a school nemesis in Eugene "Flash" Thompson, who bullies Peter while simultaneously idolizing his alter ego Spider-Man, an irony in which Peter takes delight and gratification.
  • Superboy Prime (an obscure character from 1985) was reintroduced to continuity in Countdown to Infinite Crisis, where he served as an explanation for any inconsistencies in the DC Universe; Superboy-Prime punched reality so hard that it changed history (seriously). As his role in Infinite Crisis and later stories developed (especially following the end of Legion of 3 Worlds), he became a Straw Fan, complaining that They Changed It, Now It Sucks!. So the one character they reintroduced as an answer to fanboys' questions about continuity problems is now used to make fun of the same fanboys.
  • In the old Star Wars: Tales of the Jedi comics, one of the main characters falls to the Dark Side and eventually kills his helpless brother in a fit of rage. The irony is that, normally, such an act would be a character's Moral Event Horizon, would have sealed his fate as a Dark Sider forever. That's how it's always played in Star Wars. Instead, performing the irredeemable act of evil prompted him to turn away from the Dark Side and seek redemption.
  • The entire concept of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Turtles are known for being slow animals and here, they've been trained as ninjas.
  • The Unbelievable Gwenpool is a teenager themed around everyone's favorite Merc With A Mouth, right down to the Leaning on the Fourth Wall aspects. As it turns out, she never read Deadpool in her life - she feels he's too "LOL Memes" for her tastes.
  • Watchmen:
    • Rorschach dismisses Comedian's crimes (including attempted rape and the murder of a pregnant woman) as "moral lapses" of a hero, when the two crimes that drove him to be Rorschach were the rape of a woman and the murder of a child.

      It's implied that he believes that those accusations are wholly invented or at least significantly exaggerated. He specifically doubts the accuracy of Hollis Mason's Under the Hood. Also, when he was a little kid, Rorschach absent-mindingly writes a school paper about why dropping the atomic bomb at the end of WWII was justified to prevent any further deaths. As an adult Rorschach is horrified to discover that this is exactly the kind of philosphy that Ozymandias uses to justify his actions.
    • Nuclear physicist Jon Osterman accidentally locks himself inside a disintegration chamber minutes before it's due to activate. When he begs to be let out, his supervisor Dr. Glass tells him that the automatic door lock can't be overridden once the countdown has started: "It''s a safety feature." The last four words are set in tiny print, indicating that Glass is all too aware of the situational irony.

    Comic Strips 
  • In Calvin and Hobbes, Calvin saves a snowball in his freezer for months. He then misses Susie when he throws it at the back of her head. While Calvin laments missing, Susie gathers up the snowball and hits Calvin in the face with it. Calvin then lampshades this event by saying "The irony of this is just sickening."
  • In a Dilbert comic, Dilbert is typing on his computer while Wally stands behind him and says "Have you ever noticed that people continuously bother you when you're trying to work? That's why I come here - to get away from those morons." In the final panel, Wally has "an unpleasant realization".
  • A Doonesbury strip from July 2012 has Jeff complaining that Alex married Leo and not him, saying "If I hadn't been off serving my country...". Of course, Leo is a veteran who served in Iraq.

    Fan Works 
  • In the Cardcaptor Sakura fic Shadow of the Dragon, Himiko Satome, Tomoeda's district attorney, is mentioned to have built her entire career around prosecuting sexual predators, while her own son, Ryujin, is a Serial Rapist as a result of putting up with Himiko's constant abuse.
  • In Chrono Reflect, Standard Fluttershy is jealous of her brother Zephyr Breeze, saying how everyone just goes on and on about him, how he's so smart and so talented. This is the exact opposite of what we get in the show; Zephyr's canon counterpart feels like he's stuck in her shadow, leading to him feeling insecure.
  • In Fullmetal Alchemist fanfic At Gates Edge, despite Edward being the ghost it's his life that is shaken up by Roy while he acts as a stabilizing influence. Also, Roy notes the irony of someone sexually active like himself falling in love with Edward, who has no body that he can touch. Roy notes how the Universe always gets the last laugh.
  • A Brief History of Equestria: Princess Platinum spends her whole life trying to break the power of the nobility, and eventually kills herself to ensure there will be no more monarchy ever again. Then, decades or centuries down the line Princess Celestia and Princess Luna come along and Equestria becomes a Diarchism.
  • In Calvin and Hobbes: The Series:
    • Tug tackles Hobbes in the same manner as Hobbes himself usually does to Calvin. Lampshaded:
    Calvin: Ah. He's reenacted our wonderful 'Welcome Home' Ritual.
    • Also, Socrates is named after one of the most famous philosophers of all time.
  • Clash of the Elements: Bowser, the one who once had the Star Spirits imprisoned in cards, Is actually the one to free them in Part 2 from Cackletta's spell.
  • Dirty Sympathy has Lamiroir threaten Apollo with a gun to get Machi off his murder charge or else. Lamiroir is Apollo's biological mother and she is threatening her biological son for the sake of her surrogate son. Also ironic is that Klavier Gavin, the only prosecutor in Ace Attorney to avert Amoral Attorney plays the trope quite straight here.
  • The Bleach fic Getting It Right involves an Alternate Universe where Ichigo's parents sealed his powers for his entire life as a way to protect him. Ichigo ends up hit and killed by a car before the events of the series have a chance to begin.
  • HERZ:
    • In chapter 2 Misato notes how ironic is they are using the MP-Evas as instruments of salvation when they were created to be their destruction’s tools.
    • In that same chapter Asuka ponders about her life’s several ironies: she had missed terribly her mother, but her mother had been always there and she had been unable to find her, open up and feel her love because Kyoko’s death had driven her to shut her heart; and she owed her family and her current happiness to two women she hardly considered as friends.
    Asuka leaned into the kiss. She had lost much and suffered terribly, but from the ashes, she had risen anew. She had also gained so much. Things she had not dared to hope for in the past, a past that seemed like a lifetime ago. The irony of it all. Owing so much to two women she hardly considered as friends.
  • In I Didn't Expect to See You Again, Ichigo ends up with two zanpakuto, both of whom would normally be calm and level-headed, but end up insulting and yelling at each other before coming to blows. Ichigo thinks to himself that it's ironic that the only person not giving him a headache is his hollow.
  • In chapter 18 and 20 of The Loud House story What is a Person Worth? by That Engineer, Rita and Lynn Sr. explain they don't truly favor the sisters over Lincoln, it's just that they are working hard not to play favorites, causing them to make a lot of questionable decisions like kicking Lincoln out of the house. Meaning that trying not to play favorites with their children has caused them to favor their daughters over Lincoln, and their unintentional abuse of Lincoln can destroy their family.
  • In the My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic fanfc, The Irony Of Applejack, the irony is that Applejack, the Element of Honesty, is actually a Changeling.
  • In the Total Drama story, Legacy, Heather is planning to name her baby after her late colleague, whom she couldn't stand when the latter was alive. Heather appreciates the irony of her decision, and comments on it.
  • The Man with No Name involves the Serenity crew being hired to find an alien, a job they often bemoan as being idiotic. Their new passenger is the Doctor. Yeah.
  • Mega Man: Defender of the Human Race has this. The Special Edition of Episode 1 has Wily applying for a job at Vick-Tek. In episode 7, Wily tricks Vick-Tek into funding him to make Bass.
  • My Brave Pony: Starfleet Magic:
    • The author wrote this story partly because he thinks ''FiM'' is too girly, childish, and does not appeal to boys that much. His story contains effeminate characters with girlish interests, fairies, songs from children's shows like Strawberry Shortcake and Barney & Friends, and fights with choreography that's inspired by Sailor Moon.
    • Also ironic is how Titan, a character portrayed as a spiteful villain who hates friendship and happiness, shares multiple personality traits with the author himself.
  • In chapter 11 of Neon Genesis Evangelion: Genocide, Asuka feels distraught because she almost killed Keiko accidentally. She bitterly remembers having frequently lost her patience with Shinji when he was depressed due to be forced to kill Kaworu, and notes the irony.
  • In chapter 10 of Once More with Feeling Shinji finds ironic that Touji and Kensuke cannot stand Asuka and mock her fanclub… when they’ll spend more time with her than any of her fans.
    The irony that those two will end up spending more time with Asuka then any of her rapidly growing fan club… now that’s the textbook definition of irony.
  • The Perfect Scry has a moment where Arthur is reading about the prophecy of the Once and Future King.
    When [the King] did show up, he was going to be appalled at how much was expected of him. Unite Albion? If Arthur was in his shoes, the first thing he’d do would be jump in the sea and swim for France as fast as he could. Poor dumb bastard.
  • In Fire Emblem Awakening fanfic Pretender Frederick, who trusted Robin the least and believed him to a spy, ends up becoming Robin's confidant and lover.
  • The whole idea of Kirk/Spock, in that it's the ultimate Ladykiller in Love, and he's in love with a man.
  • Rosario Vampire: Brightest Darkness:
    • In Act III chapters 23 and 24, Apoch and Astreal pick a fight with Yukari and try to kill her, insisting that she not take Ahakon away from them. Their attempts to stop Yukari from doing so end up being the very reason that Ahakon breaks up with them in favor of Yukari, as well as the fact that he got caught in the crossfire and would have been killed by the Ezranas if Luna hadn't intervened.
    • In Act VI chapter 20, it's revealed that Ran only fell in love with Ahakon because she was affected by a charming aura around him. The irony and embarrassment of a siren being the one charmed for a change is not lost on Ran.
  • Weiss Reacts:
    • Blake is the quietest member of Team RWBY and also the most troubled character in canon. In Weiss Reacts, she is a Large Ham who takes notes from Kamina himself and is absolutely obsessed with the idea of manliness.
    • Weiss claims to hate pranks and antics, but she ends the Antic War with one: specifically, she uses the exact same cheating tactic Yang used on her during the Tournament Arc- throwing an adorable animal at someone to distract them.
    • Yona Arc, a Yoko expy, has absolutely no idea who Yoko Litner is. This is despite the fact her husband is literally Kamina, she's implied to be Yoko's Reincarnation, AND half her colleagues and most of her students are familiar with it and have compared her to Yoko to her face.
  • In the One Piece story Nine Minutes, Vivi joins the crew permanently after Luffy kills Crocodile. Before she leaves, her father gives her a devil fruit to protect her. After eating it, Vivi learns it's the Sand-Sand fruit, Crocodile's power.
  • In The Eyes Have It, Sakura has to give up any romantic plans for Sasuke after developing a doujutsu as they're almost never compatible. Her doctor describes the usual results as being between horrific and deadly. In the sequel, Sasuke is interested in Sakura because of her doujutsu.
  • Davina's House Party - Episode 5 ends with Sophie Dahl, granddaughter of Roald Dahl, taking the Trip Around the Great House, part one involving her going into a recreation of the sweets garden from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, including Alexander Burke singing a parody of 'Pure Imagination', the song that plays when Charile and co. go down the river. Only problem is that Roald hated the film version for various reasons, like several heavy rewrites to the script.
  • Enslaved contains a bit of historical irony when Germania (the Halkagenia version of Germany) is taken over in what people come to call the "Lightning War" aka Blitzkrieg.
  • In the first chapter/world of The Conversion Bureau: Worlds Where It Wouldn't Work, the Pokémon defeat Equestria through The Power of Friendship.
  • Harry Potter notes in For Love of Magic that Grindewald did more for equality among magicals in a few years than Dumbledore did his whole life. Of course, he accomplished that by killing most of the old pureblood families in Europe to steal their artifacts and knowledge.
  • Advice and Trust:
    • Asuka and Shinji got together due to miscommunication, the very same thing that kept them from getting together in canon.
    • Misato had been a Shipper on Deck for Shinji and Asuka since day one, but they viewed her as the greatest threat to their relationship.
    • Part of the reason that Rei starts off so hostile to Kaworu is due to their opposing natures from being the hosts of Lilith and Adam's souls. A flashback later on reveals that the entire reason both Adam and Lilith ended up on Earth is because Lilith was in love with Adam and subconsciously followed him.
  • In Robb Returns, Eddard's and Robert's families' Ancestral Weapons are each other's favored weapon, something Robert lampshades when he gets Stormbreaker looked over by Tobho Mott and learns about the Fist.
  • In Black Sky, a Dumbledore obsessed by Trelawney's prophecy is the artesan to his own fall, in the purest Greek-tragedy style: the "Dark Lord" spoken about in the prophecy is actually him - as his influence smothered the Wizarding World - and he's murdered by the sworn brother to the girl he believed to be the Child of Prophecy but was unable to control and started to see as a danger to eliminate, meaning he dies for the greater good - the Wizarding World's and the girl's.
  • The four are very, very attuned to irony in With Strings Attached and The Keys Stand Alone: The Soft World. A good example is in the latter book, when they find themselves under frequent and annoying attack on their first day back on C'hou. Keep in mind that they had been rendered extraordinarily powerful in Strings, so take that into advisement when Ringo (yes, it's The Beatles, or the ex-Beatles, anyway) angrily says, “This is idiotic. One of the things I actually liked about here was we didn't need bodyguards or anythin' like that, and now I'm startin' to think we do!” He dashed his hand across his beard, wiping away leftover water. “It's ridiculous! Us! And yeah, I know how ironic that sounds!”
  • In Reluctant Hero:
  • GF Serendipity: Prior to the point when this fic diverges from canon, Stan and Ford's High School Principal thought Ford would become a millionaire and the best Stan could accomplish was being the one to scrape barnacles off a taffy shop by the boardwalk. Nowadays Stan is a millionaire and Ford lives in a ruined cabin and wears rags. The irony is bigger because Stan's fortune started when he helped Fiddleford McGucket sell an invention Ford dismissed as a waste of time.
  • Lampshaded in I Am NOT Going Through Puberty Again! when the narration points out that a scholar of literature could have written an entire essay on the irony of Kakashi being annoyed that his only original technique was copied by his own student.
  • Despite his powerful magic and his epic battle with Harry, what ultimately kills Voldemort in Wind Shear is being stabbed with an ordinary knife by Bellatrix, the woman who'd have been his most ardent supporter in another timeline.
  • In My Hero Academia fanfic Conversations with a Cryptid:
    • Izuku and Inko are led to believe that Hisashi Midoriya may be an alias for the man who married Inko, which made Inko terrified of confronting him because that would mean their marriage is null and void and the Midoriyas would be left destitute. Ironically, All For One used his actual name for the marriage.
    • Of all the people to kidnap his child Izuku, All For One had not prepared for it to be someone completely unrelated to him or the criminal underworld.
  • In Never Had A Friend Like Me, Norman rants about his hatred for fairy godparents to Amanda, the little girl whose life he stumbled into. He initially wanted nothing to do with her, until he realisez how shitty her parents were, leading him to use his powers to make her happy and introducing her to the magical world - basically becoming Amanda's magical godfather.
  • Wolverines, Wendigos and Winchesters:
    • Reverend Stryker fanatically believes he's on a divine mission to purge mutants from Earth's surface, with the Lord sending him an angel to bless his crusade. Except that the "angel" is a demon who gleefully manipulates him to destroy innocent lifes.
    • Anti-mutant sentiment becomes this when Xavier speculates that mutants are a natural offshot of humanity, created to protect it from supernatural threats rather than destroy it.
  • In Come Together, Dark Wizard Grindelwald was a blood-purist looking down on muggles and wizards associating with them. Not only his biggest opponent is the half-blood Tom Riddle, he's killed by the very unmagical Peggy Carte, by a gun - the muggle weapon by reference.

    Films — Animation 
  • In The Book of Life, Xibalba's human disguise in the framing device is Guicho, a security guard, someone bound to uphold the rules. And he frequently cheats in wagers, thereby disobeying the rules.
  • In Coco:
    • One of Ernesto de la Cruz's quotes is "Never underestimate the power of music". It was music that started a chain of events that eventually revealed Ernesto's true nature and condemned him.
    • One of Ernesto's loyal fans who always followed his advice and tips was the one who exposed Ernesto as a murdering fraud.
  • In Brother Bear, Kenai kills the bear (Koda's mother) by stabbing it right through the chest with his spear. In spite of the dark tone of the first part of the movie, there's no blood seeping from the bear or dripping from the spear. Come Brother Bear 2, though, and this Lighter and Softer sequel actually has a scene where a spear grazes Kenai's shoulder, and blood sprays from the wound.
  • Food Fight is about how name brand products are better than the generic store brand products yet all name brand good guy characters could be seen as mascots for generic store brand products in real life.
  • Frozen has some:
    • Anna wonders if that night she'll meet the one, she believes he is "a stranger, tall and fair." While she thinks it's Hans, Kristoff is "tall and fair" (being a husky blond), and she does meet him that night.
    • Olaf's song, "In Summer", is riddled with Black Comedy and irony because everything he daydreams about is something that melts him more quickly, and Kristoff almost contemplates interrupting this song to tell Olaf this, only for Anna to say, "Don't you dare!"
      Olaf: Just imagine how much cooler I'll be in summer!
    • "Let It Go" is about Elsa's finding happiness and freedom after years of being forced into self-isolation... by isolating herself even further.
  • Overlaps with Bilingual Bonus and Ominous Latin Chanting in Frollo's Hellfire in The Hunchback of Notre Dame. While he's busy condemning Esmeralda and absolving himself of any blame, the choir behind him is singing the Confiteor, a Latin prayer for the confession of sin. For a specific example:
    Frollo: It's not my fault!
    Choir: Mea Culpa ([it is] my fault)
    Frollo: I'm not to blame!
    Choir: Mea Culpa ([it is] my fault)
    Frollo: It was that gypsy girl, that witch who sent this flame!
    Choir: Mea Maxima Culpa ([it is] my most grievous fault)
  • Towards the end of Lady and the Tramp, the dogcatcher picks up Tramp and takes him to the pound to be put down once and for all. Fortunately, Jock and Trusty intercept the wagon and save Tramp — but in stopping the wagon, it falls over, and a dog, in this case Trusty, seemingly is killed, crushed by the fallen wagon. Miraculously, this is averted in the last scene, where Trusty only broke his leg.
  • The whole song "I Just Can't Wait to Be King" from The Lion King. Turns out Simba could wait. He had to. And when the time came he even resisted the call.
  • Many bronies were angered by the announcement of the My Little Pony:Equestria Girls films as they depicted the ponies as humans. A movie featuring them as ponies was eventually made. It ended up being considered not as good as most of the Equestria Girls movies.
  • In Shrek, Shrek tells Donkey that he doesn't like annoying creatures who never stop talking (paraphrasing here). Donkey launches into a rant about how much they annoy him, too.
    Donkey: And there's that awkward silence, you know...
    Donkey: Can I stay with you?
  • Strange Magic: Marianne tells her father that she'll marry a boy she can look into his eyes and not want to punch in the face. Later on in the film, she falls in love with the Bog King, who she punched in the face during their first interaction. The two of them started having romantic tension during their first duel, which was shortly after said punch.
  • WALL•E, a robot who crushes trash into manageable cubes, is at one point found in a trash cube that was made by a larger trash-compactor bot. Also, towards the end, he is crushed to Disney Death by a machine whose purpose has nothing to do with crushing.

  • The entire plot of Jurassic Park is basically caused by irony:
    • John Hammond's famous Catchphrase of "spared no expense" is a load of bogus: he tried to keep the number of employees to a bare minimum (so he wouldn't have to pay any of them) and had a number of the park's essential systems run by computers that were all managed and kept running by a single technician who he also short-changed, so the technician came to develop a grudge against him and did a sloppy job. Essentially, Hammond did spare no expense on the cool things the guests would encounter like the dinosaurs and the restaurant and the guides, but skimped outrageously on all the nuts and bolts details that kept the park running.
    • Also, the death of Ed Regis, who leaves two helpless children to deal with the loose T-Rex and flees into the jungle. After the T-Rex goes away without having eaten any of the group, he steps out of hiding and attempts to take charge but then the juvenile Rex comes out and noms him.
  • Oceania in Nineteen Eighty-Four purged a lot of pre-revolutionary notions (ex. capitalism, nationalism, even peace) supposedly in the name of ushering in true proletariat power...only to re-purpose and regurgitate them in Big Brother's image ("War is Peace," "Ignorance is Strength," etc.) in the name of preserving the Party's power.
  • In A Boy Named Queen, the titular character is the subject of mockery in his school because of his nickname. The worst of the bullies are Connor and Parker. The irony is that Parker is a huge fan of the band Queen's dad was a part of, The Sky Warriors.
  • One chapter in America (The Book) discusses a possible future in which the Conservatives' worst fears about immigration come true. In this possible future, whites become a marginalized minority, forced to work as itinerant day laborers. In their words, the greatest irony of the situation is that they don't realize the irony of the situation.
  • This happens three times in Battle Royale in one scene alone:
    • Yuko inadvertently kills every one of her friends in an attempt to stop their deaths after they take in Shuya who she witnessed accidentally kill a classmate. If she hadn't, then they would have all escaped, which is what she wanted in the first place.
    • Satomi kills everybody in the lighthouse except for the actual killer of Chisato.
    • Yuko is the only survivor of the lighthouse massacre, despite being the one who (inadvertently) started it.
  • Best Served Cold by Joe Abercrombie is chock full of this. Let's take two just characters:
    • Morveer: At the start, a master poisoner with a devoted apprentice. He always whines about how the profession of poisoner is horribly undervalued and unrespected. Monza is suspicious of him from the start, and tries to turn his apprentice against him for security. By a complete accident, she succeeds too well; the apprentice misunderstands Morveer, thinks he's going to betray them, and tries to kill him. He kills her, believing that Monza deliberately wanted to replace him, and starts acting against her. In doing so, he poisons every leader but Monza who might have united Styria, effectively turning her into the best candidate for queen. After he gets killed by his own poison, something he spent the entire book warning his apprentice to be careful of, Monza uses him as a scapegoat to deflect suspicion from her over the death of the other leaders, turning Morveer into the legend he always wanted to be.
    • Friendly: A mass murdering Serial Killer with no understanding of right and wrong, and a severe case of OCD over numbers. Guess who's the only character in Monza's party not to betray anyone else's trust in any way, or commit any murder of innocents, or cause any other form of collateral damage? And guess who saves Monza's life from the ally she had trusted most at first? That's right, in a novel filled with betrayal and revenge, the obsessive sociopath is one of the most trustworthy and upright characters.
  • Sort of literature: Exodus 17:14 reads "I [God] will completely blot out the memory of Amalek from under heaven". The only reason anybody remembers Amalek nowadays is because they're in The Bible.
  • The Catcher in the Rye provides a meta example - it's been banned/challenged many, many times over the years, with most objectors citing profanity and/or sexual content. The inherent irony of this (Holden thinks kids should be shielded from "FUCK YOU"'s and sexy stuff, after all) always seems to evade them.
  • The Crimson Shadow: When Brind'Amour is magically spying on Avon's royal palace, he notices a cyclopian standing guard before a tapestry depicting men of Avon defeating cyclopians, who now rule their land under King Greensparrow.
  • Jeanine from The Divergent Trilogy is convinced that Divergents threaten society. As it turns out, Divergents were the point of this particular society's creation in the first place.
  • In Jim Butcher's The Dresden Files novel Turn Coat:
    • The White Council denies that there is any such thing as the Black Council. Therefore, Ebenezer proposes dealing with the issue behind its back: by denying the existence of a conspiracy, they force a second one into existence. Harry comments on "a twofer with a sidehelping of irony" — especially since this new conspiracy could be pointed out as the Black Council to cover the original one's tracks.
    • One of the eponymous characters is the Wrongfully Accused Warden Morgan, who ends up hiding out at Harry's place. The irony is that he's been convinced that Harry's a traitor since before the series began, and now needs the innocent man he's been hounding for over a decade to prove his own innocence.
    • In the series in general; Harry's original mentor manipulated him for his own purposes, including Harry's sexual development and (first) relationship with the other apprentice, Elaine. When Harry gets his own apprentice, Molly Carpenter, she's both a) sexually experienced, possibly more than he is, and b) really, really hot for Harry. Between his own past and the part where she's his best friend's daughter, he simply can't see her that way and explicitly tells her so, no matter how traditional it is for wizards and apprenticeships. Her feelings for him never actually go away, turn into outright love, and hurt her down the line because he didn't want to hurt her.
  • One of Ray Bradbury's highly acclaimed titles, Fahrenheit 451, is also very controversial and finds itself frequently subject to a lot of censorship. The irony of this reception is that it summarizes what the book is about- the censorship of literature itself.
  • In First Casualty by Ben Elton, a policeman named Douglas Kingsley stands as a conscientious objector and refuses to join WWI. After he's put in prison and is nearly beaten to death there, the Intelligence service feigns his death and then enrolls him to conduct an anonymous investigation of a murder of an officer in Flanders. Right then fate seems to pick up a huge mallet named "tragic irony" and start hammering poor Kingsley on the head with it. He can't stop contemplating (and others can't stop reiterating) about how feeble and absurd the notion of "murder" sounds in the middle of the unthinkable massacre that is WWI. But wait, in order to obtain the evidence he has to follow a raid into the German lines and eventually joins the fight, kills some Germans, leads the raid safely back and is awarded a medal! But wait, again! He finally manages to exonerate the suspect and save him from the firing squad...only for him to be blown into "red dust" right in front of Kingsley's very eyes.
  • Dru Polar from Fusion Fire is defeated by the exact same ability/technique he was trying (and failing) to create to increase his own power to virtually unbeatable levels.
  • Halvgudene: has an interesting example, as the English description for the 3rd book calls 'forbundet', the 'alliance'. But the 'alliance' isn't like the allies of World War II, they're more like the Nazis.
  • Harry Potter often displays many examples:
    • In the Half-Blood Prince, Snape stops teaching Potions class and teaches Defence Against the Dark Arts at Hogwarts and is replaced by Professor Slughorn. Previously Potions was Harry's worst subject because he hated Snape and never made the effort in class. In his first class with Slughorn he finds a second-hand book labelled as "the property of the Half-Blood Prince". Inside the book are vast amounts of hints that help Harry in his Potions classes, making it his best subject. Then the big reveal is that Snape is the Half Blood Prince. At one point in the book Harry even makes a throwaway remark that The Prince was "a much better teacher than Snape". Lastly, supplementary material states that the Potter family built their fortune on creating potions.
    • Another Half-Blood Prince example: Slytherin Blaise Zabini, who is revealed in this passage to be black, shows the usual Slytherin Fantastic Racism against Muggle-borns, half-bloods and pure-bloods whom he regards as "blood traitors" (that, is, they don't support Voldemort).
    • The people who seem to care the least for Harry (Vernon, Petunia, Snape, Aberforth) are the people who sacrifice the most of their own security and commodity to keep him free from Voldemort.
    • Although everyone agrees that Professor Trelawney has not a whit of divinatory talent (most of the time), it happens that every single prediction she makes eventually comes true. Largely this is because they are extremely vague or already probable (for example, telling Harry, who's been marked as the nemesis of the Dark Lord, that he is in danger), but even so, her ultimate record is astoundingly perfect.
    • Ron comes from a big family that are quite poor and has a lot of hand-me-downs. Harry lived with his aunt and uncle who were a respectable middle-class family. When it comes to having to rough it in the wilderness in the seventh book, Ron isn't used to starving because his mother always cooked good meals - while Harry had endured plenty of starvation living with the Dursleys. The irony here is that the boy who grew up in poverty was actually quite spoiled, while the boy who grew up with a prosperous family had Cinderella Circumstances.
    • Despite (indeed, partly because of) striving to be immortal, Lord Voldemort lived to be only 71 — a typical lifespan for a Muggle male, and a slightly short life for a wizard.
  • In The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Ford Prefect wipes a bottle of liquor with his towel. Instead of the liquor dirtying up the towel, it actually cleans it, since the liquor in question is highly antiseptic.
  • In Jam by Ben "Yahtzee" Croshaw a group of survivors in the wake of the Jam related apocalypse, have formed a tribe around "irony", or at least what they think is irony, such as calling their leader, a blonde, "Princess Ravenhair". One of the main characters points out that their understanding of irony is completely wrong.
  • An in-universe example in Jingo. Nobby Nobbs uses Socratic irony on Colon to point out the flaws in his thinking about the Klatchians. It's not entirely clear whether he's using Obfuscating Stupidity on Colon, or if he's honestly baffled by the contradictions Colon is blissfully unaware of.
  • Le Morte Darthur. It's called "The Death of Arthur". Unsurprisingly, the whole thing is tragic irony, as Arthur struggles to build a just and fair kingdom, only for his own knights, and his own actions to set in motion the events that lead to his death, and the collapse of the kingdom. Time and time again, especially as the story approaches the end, it seems as though Arthur just might save it yet, only for cruel Fate to invert the situation to its opposite. The bit about the snake is downright mean. Also an example of situational irony produced by the title, as Arthur doesn't actually die, being put on a ship to Avalon.
  • The ending of "The Man Who Evolved" by Edmond Hamilton (1931), reprinted in Before the Golden Age edited by Isaac Asimov, is an example of dramatic irony. See LEGO Genetics for slightly more detail.
  • The Maze Runner. In "The Fever Code", the second of two prequels to the original trilogy, Newt and Sonya are revealed to be brother and sister. Newt vows that he will never forget Sonya's original name, Lizzy, only to have all memory of her erased before he goes into Group A's Maze. In addition, he is one of the three subjects (the others being Minho and Thomas) who later turn down the chance to have their memories restored, so he never remembers Sonya's true identity.
  • In Moby-Dick, Ishmael winds up floating to safety on the coffin Queequeg had built when he thought he was going to die of a fever.
  • Raphael Santiago from The Mortal Instruments is a vampire. It's said that he puts on a cross and visits his family every Sunday.
  • In Murder on the Orient Express, it is revealed that the murder victim was himself responsible for the murder of a small child (based on the Lindbergh kidnapping), but had gotten away with it. One of the passengers comments on what an abominable act that is, and says "We are not so wicked as that in Germany." The interesting part is that the passenger's comment is not considered ironic within the book itself, which was published in 1934, but becomes a fine example of tragic irony a few years later.
  • One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest has a very good example of situational irony. The main character is charged with statutory rape. He fakes insanity and gets himself committed because he thinks it'll be easier than going to a work camp. The knowledge that he's not insane and doesn't fit in makes him get on the bad side of the staff, who label him as genuinely insane and lobotomize him.
  • The Rise and Fall of D.O.D.O.: During Mel's first meeting with Tristan, a secretive government agent, he takes her out for coffee so she can consider the job he offered. Mel suspects Tristan of trying to subtly profile her as they talk, and so orders a random drink off the cafe's menu to thwart him. As soon as they sit down Tristan remarks that she ordered a random drink to stop him psychologically profiling her, and that this actually tells him far more about her than just ordering her usual would have.
  • In The Wasp Factory, Frank despises women. If only Frank could realise the fact that she is a girl raised as a boy...
  • Warrior Cats:
    • In Outcast, when Hollyleaf sees Breezepelt getting ignored by his father Crowfeather, she thinks she's glad he's not her dad. Three books later, it's revealed that he IS her dad.
    • Another example happens in Night Whispers, when Flametail tells Lionblaze that he once was glad they were related, but now he's glad he's not related to a murderer. Yet his grandpa Tigerstar had been a murderer when the series began.
    • Plus, there's a part in Code In The Clans where Leafpool said that there were rumors that Owlstar of ThunderClan had kittypets as ancestors, and she says he doesn't. But as it turns out in Thunder Rising in Dawn Of The Clans, Owlstar does have a kittypet for a father.
    • In Sunrise, Sandstorm boasts about how when she retires, she'll be such a cranky elder that she'd make Mousefur look sweet by comparison. Come The Apprentice's Quest, however, and she's become a kind and sweet-natured elder.
  • The Witchlands: Kullen is one of the most powerful Airwitches in the world. Airwitches use their powers by breathing. Kullen has asthma.
  • World War Z has the various countries using music to draw out the zombies, usually relying on their own ethnic music. The United States uses Iron Maiden's "The Trooper". This is ironic for two reasons: 1) Iron Maiden is a British band and 2) the band's mascot (Eddie) is a zombie himself.
  • There's an Irish poem that compares the careers of poets to engineers and has a mocking tone where it states that engineers are overlooked in favour of poets. At first glance it seems like straight up satire since an engineer is a very important job and is looked highly upon by society while a poet is thought to be frivolous since they don't earn good money. However the true irony comes with Fridge Brilliance — in the long term, engineers end up being forgotten while poets are immortalised forever through their work. Think of it this way — do you know the name of the man/woman that built that brick building down town or do you know who wrote "The Road Not Taken"?


  • ABBA's 1982 retrospective "The Singles: The First Ten Years" ended up being the last album they released before they disbanded. The title implies that, while the four members of the group were planning to take a break in order to work on their own projects, they envisaged recording more songs together in the future. Only they never did.
    • Agnetha Faltskog, who sings lead vocal on the stalker-themed song "Under Attack", was later targeted by a stalker in real life.
  • The Marc Almond song "The Idol", whose lyrics deal with rock stars being destroyed by Sex Drugs And Rock N Roll, is another example. While working on the song's parent album "Fantastic Star", Marc came close to joining the list of artists whose lives were cut short as a result of the aforementioned trope.
  • The first teaser for AOA Black's song "Moya" had the girls dressed in white and standing against a white background.
  • Nicely employed in "Daddy Never Was the Cadillac Kind" by Confederate Railroad. The narrator sings about his dad, a simple man who teaches him an anti-materialism lesson after he (the narrator) buys a Cadillac. In the third verse, the dad dies and is driven off to his grave in a Cadillac, causing the narrator to laugh despite his mourning.
  • The music video to the D12 song "My Band" once ran on some music television presented as "Eminem feat. D12"
  • Jakob Dylan of The Wallflowers largely became a Reclusive Artist and stopped giving interviews in later years, claiming he was sick of being compared to his father. His father, Bob Dylan, is known for also being a Reclusive Artist and rarely granting interviews, thus inciting more comparisons
  • A Flock of Seagulls' biggest hit was "I Ran (So Far Away)". However, the song's video doesn't feature the other thing the band is known for: lead singer Mike Score's distinctive "waterfall" hairstyle.
  • The Genesis song "One for the Vine" is about a man who deserts and flees from a battle led by his tribe's warlord — only to end up as the warlord of another tribe.
  • The Gin Blossoms fired guitarist Doug Hopkins when his alcoholism became too severe to work with. To reiterate, Hopkins was fired from the Gin Blossoms for alcoholism.
  • Norman Greenbaum, writer and performer of "Spirit in the Sky" — a gospel-rock song that explicitly mentions Jesus — is Jewish.
  • There's a techno track out there with an unattributed author—at least six people have insisted that they are the creator of the track. What's the track's name? "I Am the Creator".
  • The folk song "I Will Not Sing Along" is an audience-participation piece.
  • Juniel's song "Cat Day" was written for her dog.
  • The Kinks song "Lola" nearly got banned by the BBC, not because of its LGBT lyrics, but because of an explicit reference to... Coca-Cola. They changed that to "cherry cola" and it got played; apparently nobody at the Beeb noticed the sexual content.
  • Barry Manilow did not write one of his bigger hits, "I Write the Songs".
  • The Other Wiki's article on Men Without Hats makes sure to point the irony in this photo depicting the band in concert with some of them wearing hats.
  • The song "Ironic" by Alanis Morissette lists several "examples of irony". The true irony of the song however is that most of the examples she gives are not actually ironic, just unfortunate coincidences, therefore making the whole song a kind of Dramatic Irony. as this page shows. However, at least one of her examples is truly ironic: a man who is afraid to fly suffers a plane crash on his first flight. Thinking "Well, isn't this nice?". Although "rain on your wedding day" would be ironic if one of the people getting married was a meteorologist who had chosen that day because they had forecast fine and sunny weather.
  • Many National Anthems are Awesome Music in their own right. In this clip, the USSR's Red Army choir sings the anthems of the USA, UK and France in addition to its own. For those of you unfamiliar with the Cold War, these countries hated the USSR and the USSR hated them back on the grounds of ideology and national interests. So it makes it very ironic for an army of Dirty Communists to sing the anthems of their capitalist adversaries, and on top of that, they sing it very well.
  • "We're Not Going To Make It" by The Presidents of the United States of America lists several reasons why they don't think they'll be successful. One of those is "We don't know how to rhyme." This comes two lines after "We don't have the time."
  • Queen's "Thank God It's Christmas" was sung by Freddie Mercury, a Zoroastrian. One has to wonder which God he was thanking.
  • While Helen Reddy did write the lyrics to the women's liberation anthem "I Am Woman," a man wrote the music.
  • Gioachino Rossini's Petite Messe Solenelle, literally "Little Solemn Mass", has been described as "Neither little, nor solemn, nor particularly liturgical."
  • Country Music singer Doug Stone underwent heart surgery in 1992. The title of his album at the time? From the Heart.
  • Although the band T.Rex had numerous songs about cars, lead singer Marc Bolan never learned to drive. In a more tragic irony, Bolan didn't learn to drive because he was afraid of dying prematurely in a car accident. He was killed instantly when the car he was a passenger in struck a tree. He was just two weeks away from turning thirty.
  • Luther Vandross is known for singing some of the most well-known R&B love songs of the 1980s and 1990s. He himself, however, never married, never had children, and never even had any known romantic relationships with women (it's possible he could have been gay).
  • The lyrical content of "Stay" by Maurice Williams and the Zodiacs entreats the listener to "stay... just a little bit longer". At a duration of 1:37note , it is the shortest song ever to hit #1 on the Billboard charts.
  • Right before her career began, Country Music singer Lee Ann Womack divorced her husband, Jason Sellers. Her 2005 hit "I May Hate Myself in the Morning" is about having a one-night stand with an ex-lover... featuring Jason Sellers on background vocals.
  • "Weird Al" Yankovic:
    • His song "Don't Download This Song" was explicitly made free to download by Weird Al himself. What's the song about? Digital piracy.
    • Another example: In 1983, he recorded "I Lost on Jeopardy!". 18 years later, he competed on Rock & Roll Jeopardy!… and lost. The producers showed part of the video over the credits.
    • Furthering the irony: on April 27, 2012, the actual Jeopardy! used the song's lyric "My hope of winning sank, 'cause I got the Daily Double now, and then my mind went blank" in a Daily Double clue. The contestant who hit it couldn't come up with the answer, and lost.
    • Al graduated from high school two years early as the valedictorian. What was the title of his third album? Dare To Be Stupid.
    • When Al asked Mark Knopfler of Dire Straits for permission to parody "Money For Nothing", it was granted on the condition that Knopfler himself would perform the guitar part on the song. The irony is that the guitar track that was originally on the song (recorded by Al's guitarist Jim West) was closer to the guitar track on the original song than the part Knopfler recorded in the finished product. In the DVD Commentary for UHF, Al says it was because Jim was trying to get his track as close to the original as possible while Knopfler had been performing the song on tour and improving the sound as he went.
  • "Yesterday's Hero", a song written by George Young of the 60s Australian group the Easybeats about his band's struggle with fame, was the song that created a new star, John Paul Young, in the 70s.
  • "American Dream" by Samantha Fish is dripping with irony.
    You're the liberated;
    You are the free.
    Free to cry and die disenfranchised—
    Blessed as a country.

    Professional Wrestling 
  • Ring of Honor, who by this point had long been boasting about having the deepest Tag Team division in the world, brought Stuka Jr, whom they hyped as a tag team specialistnote . On the hook they'd be giving him his first one on one match with Kamaitachi, who had been running amok alongside The Addiction, ROH's World Tag Team Champions (of the world).
  • When TNA iMPACT changed its name to Impact Wrestling in 2011, many thought the company itself was changing its name too. After purchasing TNA in late 2016, Anthem did just that: changing the promotion's name and dropping the "TNA" branding.
    • After the company, against the network's wishes, rehired the infamous Vince Russo, Spike TV pulled the plug on Impact in 2014 (leading to its short run on Destination America in 2015). Yet, the U.K version of Spike will air Impact in 2017, somewhat bringing the company back to the very network they got themselves booted off from in the U.S.

    Tabletop Games 
  • The Planescape campaign "Faction War", Duke Rowan Darkwood was looking for a gemstone containing the soul of a mad mage who tried to overthrow the Lady of Pain. He found it, broke it open to release the soul inside, and was promptly sent back in time by the Lady. In the process, he lost his memories and became the very same mad mage who tried to overthrow the Lady. But that's not all. This time, the Lady imprisoned his soul inside a gemstone, where, a couple of centuries later, he finally died when the gemstone was broken open by his younger self. Irony to the power of Three indeed.
  • In Warhammer 40,000, the Imperium is a star-spanning racially-supremacist theocratic dictatorship which worships the purity and superiority of the human race... and is protected by armies of Super Soldiers so heavily augmented by biological enhancements and cybernetics that they aren't even remotely human anymore. And the actual pure human soldiers they have tend to die in droves.
    • For dramatic irony, the early days of the Imperium, prior to the Horus Heresy, are viewed in-universe as a lost golden age that was doomed by Horus's betrayal. When the Horus Heresy books came out, it became pretty unambiguous that the early Imperium was merely a different flavour of totalitarian fascism, with the Emperor's campaign being "better" only in that there was an actual R&D budget and the Inquisition didn't exist yet.
    • More dramatic irony: Lorgar Aurelian wrote the holy book for the Lectitio Divinitatus, which would eventually give rise to the Imperial Cult. Lorgar was the first Primarch to fall to Chaos, and his Legion has since dedicated ten thousand years to fighting a religion that mostly exists because of Lorgar.
    • Mortarion's early life was spent on a poisonous hell-world with small human settlements toiling for superhuman alien overlords, leading to him leading the humans in a battle against their oppressors. Replace "alien" with "so heavily augmented and mutated that they only barely count as human" and that's the world Mortarion built in the Eye of Terror, except that he's too busy being the oppressor to consider rebelling against anyone.
    • Horus's rebellion was motivated, in part, by a vision from the Gods of Chaos, portraying the eventual state of the Imperium as a totalitarian theocracy where the Emperor and some of the Primarchs are revered as gods, while others are forgotten. That's how the Imperium ended up as a result of his rebellion (the Emperor's original vision was more of a totalitarian secular autocracy). Tzeentch probably had a good chuckle over that one.

  • An example of verbal irony shows up in Chicago, during Billy's song "All I Care About". Taken out of context, it is a song about a man whose sole priority is saving damsels in distress, and who cares nothing about money. In-context, however, the show makes it clear that he's just a money-grubbing Amoral Attorney.
  • Meta-example: during a performance of Hair at the Hollywood Bowl, which is an outdoor amphitheater, it was a beautiful day... Until the show reached "Let The Sun Shine In." Then it started raining.
  • Gabe in Next to Normal has a Motif of seeing himself as immortal, with his signature song being called "I'm Alive", which is ironic on account of the fact that Gabe is actually a recurring hallucination, and the real Gabe died as an infant. Similarly, Gabe and his sister Natalie have a duet called "Superboy and the Invisible Girl", which is about how their mother only seems to care about Gabe and pays little attention to Natalie, when it should be the other way around due to Gabe being long dead.
  • Oedipus Rex uses both Tragic Irony and Cosmic Irony.
  • The plot of The Producers is as follows: the titular producers determine they can make more money if their next play flops than if it succeeds. So, they set out to produce a play that intentionally bombs by getting the worst play they can find ("Springtime For Hitler"), the worst cast, and the worst director. Somehow, this perfect storm of ineptitude comes across as satire and the resulting play is a massive hit. (So much so that the trope for when someone attempts to fail on purpose and has massive success as a result is called Springtime for Hitler.)
  • Rock of Ages.
    • The soundtrack consists mostly of rock and pop songs of The '80s. Notably absent (they couldn't get the rights): Def Leppard's "Rock Of Ages".
    • Another example from the musical: a group of Moral Guardian-types protesting a rock club while singing "We're Not Gonna Take It". Especially when you consider the protestors' similarity to the PMRC and how the lead singer of the band that performed that song felt about that group.
  • Historical irony in Hamilton: "I am not throwing away my shot!" Sung by a man any educated American knows will eventually die deloping in a Duel to the Death, literally throwing away his shot.

    Theme Parks 
  • Disneyland, whose main mascot is a mouse, goes to great lengths to kill any mice in the park, even allowing feral cats to roam the park to keep the population down.
  • The Haunted Mansion, where the ghosts are forever cursed to be trapped in the mansion and endlessly wander the hallways, is located in the Liberty Square area at Magic Kingdom.
  • The children of Walter Knott refused to sell the struggling Knott's Berry Farm to Disney, believing that they would remove too much of what their father built. Cedar Fair, the company they eventually sold it to, ended up removing far more of the park than what Disney had planned to in their theoretical brainstorming of turning the park into "Disney's America".
  • The characters in Marvel Superhero Island at Universal's Islands of Adventure are all now owned by Disney, Universal's biggest rival in the theme park business.
  • Tomorrowland at the Disneyland parks always proved to be a challenge to Imagineers, as it kept becoming "Todayland" or even "Yesterdayland" as the technology of the outside world advanced. Nowadays, it's filled with many sci-fi franchises that are either set in the present or the past (Lilo & Stitch, Iron Man, Star Wars, Finding Nemo, Monsters, Inc., and so on).
  • The Tree of Life at Disney's Animal Kingdom, a park all about the conservation of animals and the environment, is built on an oil rignote .

    Video Games 
  • 1942 casts the player as an American pilot in the Battle of Midway. The game was developed by Capcom in Japan, the country that lost the Battle of Midway.
  • Assassin's Creed:
    • Sibrand, one of the last targets of Assassin's Creed I, was gripped with paranoia bordering on madness after most of the rest of the Templar brotherhood was assassinated. He wanders around, accusing everyone of conspiracy and believing assassins to be all around him. While chewing out some guards for whispering to each other, he whirls around and loudly proclaims that there's probably an assassin nearby at that moment; further evidence of his insane paranoia, except that Altaïr happens to be sitting on a bench listening to them.
    • In the prologue of Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood, an engineer mentions to Ezio that the future of warfare is firing a cannon from your hands. Ezio's been using one, far more advanced than the one the engineer's boasting about, for over a decade at that point.
  • Baldur's Gate has a meta example. The popularity of the series caused its Bigger Bad — Bhaal, the long-dead God of Murder — to gain a lot of name recognition. This eventually caused him to be resurrected in the 5th edition of Forgotten Realms canon, an irony given that the overarching plot of the games is about preventing this from coming about and killing off his legacy once and for all.
  • BioShock Infinite:
    • One level has a voice recording by a black janitor in a high security restricted area built by the city's government. Naturally, he's given no information because he's a janitor and black, but he also knows more than he's expected to about what's hidden in the restricted area, because while his low status means they won't give him information, it also means they don't really care if he overhears anything either.
    • This games predecessor, BioShock was a critically acclaimed game, but there was one moment in the game that was heavily criticized; a level with an escort mission, where the player had to protect a little girl with absolutely no concept of self-preservation throughout a dangerous environment. In BioShock 2 the escort concept was distributed over several points in the game rather than all at once, and criticized for it as well. BioShock Infinite, easily the most popular of the trilogy, was a success because of its excellent storyline - the story was about a man escorting a girl throughout a dangerous environment. Though it probably helps that Elizabeth has no health bar and you don't need to constantly act as her meatshield.
    • Infinite is full of choices. Who to hit with a baseball, to argue with a ticket dealer or draw weapons, but the most famous decision without a doubt is "The bird, or the cage?" This choice appears in a lot of fan-art, on t-shirts, and there are dozens of arguments and polls online about which one is better. The bird, because the bird is free like Elizabeth now is, while the cage represents imprisonment? The cage, because the cage is empty? In the end it doesn't matter. The point of this choice was to show the player... that choices are meaningless. Out of all choices in the game (which all had minor effects, and none of which affected the plot) this one had the least effect of all, a minor difference in Elizabeth's appearance, which you wouldn't notice if you weren't looking for it. The choice which is most heavily debated is a choice designed to show that your choices have no real effect.
    • Infinite is a very cynical game, and it spends a large portion of time taking the axe to the idea of Christian forgiveness and baptism. One of the major plot elements is how Father Comstock is trying to paint Elizabeth as a Messianic Archetype while she would actually be his Dark Messiah. The ironic part is that the game can actually be viewed as idealistic from a Christian perspective, as Booker and Elizabeth's Heroic Sacrifices have messianic undertones - they're people sacrificing themselves in ways that cure the world of a terrible sin and give people a second chance to redeem themselves while also safeguarding their eventual salvation.
  • In Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker the titular character (and Toadette) are weighed down by heavy equipment, including a headlamp and backpack, meaning they can't jump on enemies, making even a Goomba a threat. However, one of the few enemies that Captain Toad and Toadette can easily defeat without additional items are Boos, who are normally very difficult to defeat in standard Mario games. It's all thanks to their headlamps.
  • The very title of Castlevania: Harmony of Dissonance. "Dissonance" means a lack of harmony.
  • A nice example in Chrono Trigger. There are three "gurus" named Belthasar (The guru of Reason), Melchior (The Guru of Life) and Gaspar (The Guru of time). After being attacked by Lavos its revealed that The Guru of Reason went insane, the Guru of Life developed weapons, and the Guru of Time reached an area where Time didn't exist.
  • Cam Clarke is one of the most prolific voice actors in the video game industry. However, he doesn't play any himself.
  • Command & Conquer: Generals: Zero Hour
    General Townes: If you build a Particle Cannon and I destroy it with a particle beam... is that irony?
  • A rare instance of Tragic Irony can be found in Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII. Because it's a prequel to the original Final Fantasy VII, we know exactly how it ends, which makes the final few hours unmitigated Tear Jerkers.
  • Dead Rising 2 has a activist organization that promotes the protection of zombies, called C.U.R.E. After the outbreak occurs, the protagonist can use C.U.R.E. picket signs to beat zombies to death.
  • The Elder Scrolls
    • The Dunmeri Great House Hlaalu gets hit with this. From the time that Morrowind joined The Empire as a Voluntary Vassal, House Hlaalu created strong ties to the Empire, making them the strongest and wealthiest of the Great Houses. In Morrowind, both the King of Morrowind and the Duke of Vvardenfell hail from House Hlaalu. However, in the years that followed, Morrowind was hit hard by the Oblivion Crisis, Red Year, and Argonian invasion. The crumbling Empire pulled out of Morrowind as a lost cause, leaving Hlaalu without their powerful ally. By the time of Skyrim's Dragonborn DLC, Hlaalu is now the weakest House, for exactly the same reason that once made them the strongest.
    • Gaiden Shinji was a legendary hero of the Redguard people. He was also a Master Swordsman and leader of the Order of Diagna. His famous credo states that "the best techniques are passed on by the survivors". Ironically, he was not actually one of the "survivors", though he fell in battle not for his techniques failing, but due to treachery.
    • Topal the Pilot was an Aldmeri Bold Explorer and poet, and was the first to discover and explore Tamriel during the Merethic Era, encountering primitive versions of the Khajiit and Argonians, as well as a now extinct race of bird people. His story was compiled into an epic known as Father of the Niben, but most of it was lost over the centuries. Tamriel's Topal Bay and Cyrodiil's Niben River system bare his name and the name of his ship, but ironically, he only explored them by mistake. After existing Black Marsh, while trying to get back home to Firsthold, he mistook the "jutting peninsula" of Elsweyr as the mainland sailed north into the Bay and River. Had he known that was a peninsula and sailed around it, he would have gotten home much sooner and never would have explored central Cyrodiil, his most famous accomplishment.
  • Fallout 3: The Brotherhood of Steel in the Capital Wasteland are split into two different factions - the main branch led by Elder Lyons (who prioritize protecting the natives over finding Pre-War tech), and a splinter faction led by Protector Casdin (who just try to recover Pre-War tech and leave the locals alone). The irony is that this splinter cell (who proudly call themselves "the Brotherhood Outcasts") actually act the most like how the Brotherhood of Steel did in the original Fallout.
  • Fallout 4:
  • The main character in Far Cry 2 kills a large number of characters over the course of the game. Not among those: The Jackal, who the player originally set out to kill.
  • Far Cry 3:
    • Vaas tries to set Jason on fire at one point, only to discover that his lighter is out of fuel. So, he sticks the spent lighter in Jason's pocket instead. Later, Vaas tries to kill Jason again by shooting him. The bullet is stopped by the lighter.
    • Vass likes to tell Jason that "The definition of insanity is repeating the same actions and expecting a different outcome." He's apparently under the impression that Jason didn't get it the first time he told him, so he repeatedly tells him this expecting him to finally get it.
  • One part of F. E. A. R. has a room with a massive pool of blood in it. On the wall above the puddle, a sign says, "Please help us keep this room clean."
  • Though it is untrue, a commonly believed urban legend is that the Final Fantasy series was named because Square had almost run out of money and decided to make their final game a fantasy RPG, hence "Final Fantasy". "Final" Fantasy is now one of the longest running video game series ever. In particular, the double-dose of irony from Final Fantasy X-2 was probably dense enough to make a dent in space-time.
  • In Final Fantasy X:
    • The summoners journey to Zanarkand in order summon the Final Aeon which destroys Sin. The fact that it is called the Final Aeon is quite ironic in that though it is the last Aeon the summoner will ever gain, the Final Aeon summoned will become the next Sin and thus continuing the cycle, meaning that there will be more Aeons called because this Final Aeon has become the next Sin.
    • Tidus. First example: Tidus doesn't want Yuna to die killing Sin. He ends up fading away while killing Sin. Second example: Yuna will die if she fights Sin and no one tells Tidus about this. Later on Tidus gets to know that he will fade away if Sin dies and doesn't tell anyone.
    • From Final Fantasy IX there are two cases with the plot to kidnap the princess. First of all, Tantalus go to kidnap her when she was planning to run away with them anyway (they didn't know this). Second of all, the plan involved Zidane and Blank stealing the knights' armour and when they run into the princess in the midst of her trying to escape, she panics and runs off which starts off a big fiasco that leads to them all being discovered. The irony is that if they hadn't gone to so much trouble to create a perfect plan and just snuck in normally, Garnet would have recognised them and gone with them anyway.
    • Any blame for unpopular choices made with the Final Fantasy franchise was usually placed upon Tetsuya Nomura, who only was a character artist (as in, one of many) for the games post VII - and even then, he stepped out of a few, and many thought he was making the game series "too anime". The only game he had involvement on beyond drawing pictures? Final Fantasy XV... which people were quite excited about even when it was Versus XIII due to the fact Nomura wanted it to be "founded in reality". Twisted even further when the game's Troubled Production and release from Development Hell was finally completed... and people started coming out saying how the game (While still great on its own merits) could have been better if done Nomura remained the director. The very same person who had apparently been ruining Final Fantasy for decades.
    • Exdeath from Final Fantasy V is a tree that lives in a castle made out of people.
    • In Final Fantasy XIV, The Primal Shinryu is created by Ilberd, an Ala Mhigan, in order to wreck havoc on the Garlean Empire for their atrocities. Instead, it's found by Zenos, a Garlean viceroy ruling over Ala Mhigo, who seeks to use Shinryu to destroy his enemies once and for all.
  • In Fire Emblem Awakening the Avatar is meant to become the vessel of the Big Bad and bring about the end of the world. Instead (depending on the choice you make) the Avatar ends up killing the main villain for good while Chrom can only put him to sleep for a thousand years. To further add on the delicious irony, the Big Bad accidentally blanking the memory of the Avatar at the start of the game made them become closer to Chrom and his crew, allowing them to fight off his influence.
  • Grand Theft Auto:
    • In Grand Theft Auto III, a caller on Chatterbox complains about people using phones and reveals that she's organized a group called Citizens Raging Against Phones to get phones banned from Liberty City. However, her planned communication method of carrier pigeons fails to organize the meetings note  and she has to use a phone to call Chatterbox to spread the word. Lazlow is quick to point out the irony.
    • Donald Love's mission strand in Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories involves Toni undertaking a series of tasks to help him win the mayoral election. But when the results are counted, it's revealed that Love lost the election because of Toni's involvement with him.
    • In Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, K-DST D.J. Tommy "The Nightmare" Smith occasionally makes cracks at other station Radio X. Radio X's playlist includes "Welcome To The Jungle" by Guns N' Roses. Tommy is voiced by Guns N' Roses lead singer Axl Rose.
    • San Andreas has a radio station called WCTR which is short for "West Coast Talk Radio". Because of the "West Coast" in the name, the station has the call letters of an east coast radio station. (A west coast station would start with K.)
    • The first game of the 3D era, Grand Theft Auto III is also the last of that era to take place (released and set in 2001). The last game of the 3D era, Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories is the first to take place (released in 2006 and set in 1984).
    • At the end of Grand Theft Auto IV, Roman suggests you pick the Deal ending, while Kate suggests you pick the Revenge ending. Both characters advocate the ending that results in them dying at Roman's wedding.
    • Two different updates to Grand Theft Auto V added the Virgo and Virgo Classic cars to the game. The irony is that the Virgo is based on an older model than the Virgo Classic. note 
    • Several games have a mission where the protagonist has to protect or otherwise save the life of another character, only for a later mission to require killing that same character. Ricardo Diaz from Vice City for example.
  • The Gran Turismo games always feature a series of races called the Sunday Cup. These are the starter races geared towards low performance cars. In most of the games, one of these low performance races takes place on the High Speed Ring.
  • Guilty Gear:
    • Ky Kiske lost his family and his supposed-to-be worry-free teenage years in a brutal war with the Gears. Not only is his best friend and rival a Gear, but he ends up getting married to another one and having a child with her. Also, he was the leader of the Holy Knights, yet he named his son "Sin".
    • In the Story mode of Xrd, there's a scene where Frederick and Aria are discussing what animal they want to be. Aria, rather predictably, wants to be a bird. Frederick says he'd prefer to be a roach - even if you're reviled by nearly all of humanity, you're almost impossible to kill, and have no concern for natural predators or socio-political bullshit. He's unknowingly, and very accurately, describing his future life as Sol Badguy, the Prototype Gear.
  • Hometown Story:
    • Shinji is frequently seen going to the temple on cloudy days in hope of metting a god, but not when it's rainy. If you speak to him on rainy day, he'll have a line of dialogue in which he assumes that gods don't like rain. Guess what is one of the requirements for the player to be able to talk to the Harvest God outside of cutscenes.
    • Carl intially refuses to let Ember the dragon move into town due to being in a Tragic Bigot situation towards monsters. His old friend the sentient scarecrow is actually a transformed monster.
  • In Homeworld the destruction of Kharak, is an attempt of the emperor's advisors at saving the Taiidan Empire, as the act should quell civil unrest by proving that the emperor can find and punish his enemies everywhere (the ancestors of the Kushan, the inhabitants of Kharak, had been allowed to leave and go into exile on condition they renounced to hyperspace technology. Since then they forgot their history, including the treaty, and lost all their advanced technology, and re-developed hyperspace technology right before the genocide) and kill the last remnants of their ancient and still feared enemy. The consequence of the act: the overthrow of the Taiidan Empire at the hands of the rebellion sparked by the genocide and the last surviving Kushan, who decided the genocide was a good reason to overthrow the Empire and got the means by reverse-engineering Taiidan technology and capturing Taiidan ships.
  • Noire in Hyperdimension Neptunia U: Action Unleashed is stated multiple times to be the strongest CPU out of the four of them. In terms of gameplay, she's tied for the worst character, with her transformed state still being outclassed by everyone else, which includes all the CPU Candidates and a human.
  • In the video game adaption of I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream, Ellen has a horrible fear of the colour yellow - simply looking too closely at a yellow Egyptian statue proves too much for her. So when she needs to have her face in front of the statue while stealing a gemstone off of it, what does she do? She blindfolds herself - with a piece of yellow cloth.
  • Iji features the Massacre, the single strongest weapon in the entire game. How do you get it? It's handed to you at the end of a Pacifist Run, right before the Final Boss.
  • In order to get the non-violent, Light Side resolution to the Sand People crisis in Knights of the Old Republic, you require a Blood Knight assassin droid who's alignment is firmly on the Dark Side to aid in peaceful negations.
  • One Mandalorian in Knights of the Old Republic II becomes a Death Seeker if you beat him in a sparing match. Convinced there are no battles to fight and that he will never redeem himself. Not only is the Mandalorian camp attacked later in the story. Mandalore personally leads his clan(which would've included him) in the assault on the Sith flagship. If only the poor guy had waited just a little bit longer...
  • A common example in first-person shooters: The M79 grenade launcher, in real life, was too heavy to carry alongside a rifle, leading to the development of the underbarrel M203. And yet Left 4 Dead 2 is possibly the only video game in existence to feature the weapon that doesn't let you carry it alongside a rifle or two (any of which may also have the M203 attached to them for added irony).
  • The Legend of Zelda:
    • In The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask, Viscen's soldiers wish to have everyone flee to safety while Mutoh's carpenters demand to stay and continue the carnival. On the final day, most of the carpenters have chickened out and fled while the soldiers are still at their posts due to not having been given the order to evacuate.
    • The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker:
      • The game has a meta example with the awakening of the sages who empower the Master Sword. Medli, a Rito girl whose race and tribe have a fixation towards sky (and they indeed can fly), is chosen to be the sage of the Earth Temple. Makar, a plant born from the earth thanks to the Great Deku Tree, is chosen to be the sage of the Wind Temple. It looks at first that their corresponding elements are deliberately mixed up, but the assignations make sense. Birds are fond of rocky, earthly places to put their nest safe from predators, and plants are the reason why air (and, by extension, wind) exists for living creatures to breath.
      • Ganondorf's original reason for wanting to rule Hyrule was because it was far more habitable than the desert he grew up in. When he finally takes control of it, the gods render it completely uninhabitable by burying it beneath the ocean.
    • In The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess, after all the fragments of the Fused Shadow are retrieved, Link is turned into a wolf for a fourth time after Zant forcefully inserts into him a Shadow Crystal. Zant's intention is to render Link powerless forever, but once the latter finds the Master Sword, the ability of switching forms between human and Wolf anytime thanks to the now-comprised power of the crystal ends up making Link even more powerful. Midna lampshades this right before the battle against Zant.
    • In The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword:
      • The Ancient Robot race was the most advanced and sophisticated in the surface world, and yet it was the first to extinguish after the lush grassland and sea of Lanayru Province turned into a huge wasteland (which happened after the Thunder Dragon Lanayru died from a grave disease). From the perspective of the series as a whole, it's even more ironic since Lanayru Province eventually becomes the homeland of the Zoras, the rich source of water that fills the rivers and lakes of Hyrule, and overall a land that homages Nayru, the Goddess of Wisdom.
      • Link has to seek out the Sacred Flames of the three goddesses in order to turn the Goddess Sword into the Master Sword. The flame that grants it the power to repel evil is from Din, the goddess directly associated with Ganondorf.
    • In most of the 3D games, Link can swim on the surface of water indefinitely. The only exceptions are the ones from The Wind Waker (who grew up on an island in the middle of the ocean) and Breath of the Wild (who spent a good chunk of his childhood among the Zoras and very nearly became their prince consort).
  • Wendy from Maniac Mansion is a journalist who makes much use out of language and can help bypass the Purple Tentacle by rewriting the Meteor's manuscript into something readable and getting him a publishing contract. She's also the only member of the group who doesn't say anything after Dave's speech.
  • In Mass Effect 3:
    • Javik empathically learns English from gleaning Shepard's mind, unaware that due to their exposure to a Prothean beacon, Shepard is one of the few people alive who already understands the Prothean language.
    • One option for Shepard's Multiple-Choice Past, "Sole Survivor", has Shepard as the only one to survive a thresher maw attack on Akuze. Mass Effect 3 confirms the attack was engineered by the human supremacist organization Cerberus, which Shepard worked for during Mass Effect 2.
  • Zero from the Mega Man X and Zero series was created by the character who started the entire Robot War, yet Zero is ultimately the one who ended the war, finally bringing peace to humans and Reploids.
  • Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty:
    • Solidus Snake tells the president that "Pawns can never become players." It turns out he was attempting to become a player himself by destroying the Patriots, but he was their Unwitting Pawn the entire time.
    • Metal Gear Ray was created for the purpose of destroying Metal Gears. After it's stolen, it's mass produced for the purpose of protecting Arsenal Gear, possibly the biggest Metal Gear ever.
  • In Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots, Johnny repeatedly comes across as incompetent due to having stomach issues in the middle of combat and not being coordinated with the other members of Rat Patrol 01. It's later revealed this is because he was not injected with nanomachines like his teammates. But when Liquid uses technology that exploits the nanomachines, Johnny is the only one who's immune to the attack allowing him to save the day.
  • Metroid: Fusion is often considered the black sheep of its series, primarily because Sequence Breaking is nearly impossible to do to the degree you can in the other games - and yet it's the one game in the series where you can actually complete it with just one item collected. For comparison, Zero Mission requires at least nine items (ten on Hard mode).note  This also happens with Metroid: Other M, which has received even more flak than Fusion for lack of Sequence Breaking, yet its hard mode removes powerups entirely.note 
  • In Mortal Kombat II, one of Jax's Fatalities has him rip his opponent's arms off. In Mortal Kombat 9, during the events of MKII, he gets his own arms ripped off by Ermac.
  • Myrkul's death in Neverwinter Nights 2: Mask of the Betrayer: killed by the power that's keeping him alive.
  • In Payday 2, you play as a professional criminal. As part of a crossover, characters can wear the masks worn by the Fans from Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number. The Fans deliberately sought out and killed only criminals, to give themselves a (flimsy) moral justification.
  • Pokémon:
    • Entei is at least partially inspired by the guardian lions of China which have been held for millennia as symbols of success, protection, and inner peace. In Pokémon Super Mystery Dungeon he's a Knight of Cerebus who shows up right when the protagonists’ rescue of Latios and Latias ended in disaster, and then threatened to kill them.
    • Up until Gen V, the Bug type was a borderline joke type, despite the franchise coming about through Satoshi Tajiri's memories of collecting bugs.
    • Golbat can only evolve into Crobat when it reaches maximum happiness, but Crobat's face is contorted into a permanent frown.
    • In Pokémon Sun and Moon, there's two legendary Pokemon called Solgaleo and Lunala. Despite the fact that the sun is often being associated with the Fire-type given how it's a giant ball of flaming plasma, Solgaleo is weak to Fire-type moves while Lunala is extremely weak to both Dark-type and Ghost-type moves even though the moon having some associations with darkness. However, it's worth noting that they are stated to be emissaries (agents) of the sun and moon and not personifications like previous legendaries.
    • Similarly, Greninja is a frog that's weak to bugs due to being Dark-type.
  • In Persona 3 Portable, Shinjiro Aragaki is reluctant to start a romance with the female protagonist because he knows he is almost guaranteed to die of his illness, be murdered by Ken in revenge for the death of Ken's mother, or straight-up die in battle against the Shadows. If you actually go through with the romance, he outlives her, and she can outright die in his arms.
  • Doug Rattmann from Portal is schizophrenic. This has resulted in him being Properly Paranoid about the GLaDOS project. As every other scientist was ignorant of the danger GLaDOS possessed, he was the Only Sane Man because he was clinically insane.
  • In the backstory of Rainbow Six: Vegas, Gabriel Nowak, one of your teammates for one mission per game, is essentially the team fuckup, most notably getting a hostage negotiator killed in the prologue mission in Vegas 2. In-game, however, he doesn't hold a candle to the mind-numbing stupidity of Mike and Jung that you have to deal with for the rest of the game.
  • Red Dead Redemption has plenty of irony:
    • The most prominent one is Edgar Ross's and Jack Marstons fate. By killing John Marston, he believes to be doing a good job and cleaning the West of dangerous outlaws. However, this results in Jack becoming an outlaw who eventually kills Ross.
    • Reyes is revealed to be eventually successful in his revolution against the Mexican dictator - only to become a tyrant himself.
    • The Stranger, in some cases, notes the irony in Marston's actions by stating that Marston values marriage even though he's a cold blooded killer.
    • The people of the supposedly "civilised" town of Blackwater (namely the G-Men and Professor MacDougal) talk about frontier folk like they're mentally retarded savages. Of course, spend any amount of time with the MacFarlanes or Nastas and you'll learn just how weightless and downright hypocritical these views are.
  • Ridge Racer 7 has a body kit company called Dig Dug (named after the early Namco game) which can be sponsored with a livery on the Danver Hijack Complete. The irony is that Dig Dug is the only body kit that is not available on the normal Hijack.
  • Shin Megami Tensei III: Nocturne allows its protagonist, an Ordinary High-School Student who was transformed into a demon, to hire Dante, a powerful demon slayer. He puts it best: "It's the joke of the century, don't ya think?"
  • Word of God stated that Dr. Eggman of the Sonic the Hedgehog series was based on Teddy Roosevelt (and was going to be the hero originally). Want to know how it's ironic? Dr. Eggman essentially is a threat to Environmentalism, and Roosevelt was actually one of the people who pioneered environmentalism (he was one of the reason why America even has Nature Reserves, for one thing).
  • In Sid Meier’s Alpha Centauri, as you advance down the tech tree, Sister Miriam Godwinson (the leader of the Christian fundamentalist faction, the Lord's Believers) will begin to sound rather rational and cautious towards some of the more questionable late-game technologies, while Zakharov (the leader of the scientifically-inclined University) begins referring to new discoveries with an almost religious overtone. Not to mention the biggest irony of all: the UNS Unity colonists were, as the name suggests, supposed to form a brand new unified society on another world free from past ethnic and religious divides; however the UN failed to account for the ideological divides of the colonists, so when they made planetfall, they immediately split into the nation-states they were supposed to have abandoned.
  • In Sonic Adventure 2, you find a device that lets Knuckles breathe underwater. Where is it? So far underwater that Knuckles almost drowns getting to it.
  • Soulcalibur 3 introduces Zasalamel to the series. His story is that he carries a curse that causes him to be reincarnated upon death, and he wants the curse lifted so he can finally die permanently. His weapon is a scythe which is commonly associated with the Grim Reaper.
  • In Stardew Valley, we have Krobus, a Shadow Person who is weakened by the light. He worships a deity known as Yoba, and stays silent on Fridays out of respect for said deity. Yoba, however, is described as a being of endless golden light. Krobus worships the very thing that is harmful to him.
  • Super Smash Bros.:
    • In the Subspace Emissary, Sonic, the fastest thing alive, is very late to the final battle against Tabuu. He is also low-tier in Brawl tournaments, one of the reasons being that he has slow attack setups.
    • Super Smash Bros. Brawl can apply here in of itself. Why? The game was designed by Masahiro Sakurai to specifically NOT be competitive, yet the number of official money tournaments featuring it actually exceeded those of Halo in 2010.
    • Ryu of Street Fighter fame, poster boy of the traditional Fighting Game genre, joined the fray for 3DS/Wii U. In Street Fighter (and other traditional fighting crossovers he's been in) he is one of the simplest characters to use, with basic but reliable special moves with the simplest inputs. In Smash however, the abilities he carries over from his home series (classic input special moves, high Combo capability, and Lag Cancel among other things) combined with Smash's unique Platform Fighter mechanics make him one of the most execution-heavy characters and one of the most unusual Mechanically Unusual Fighters in the series.
    • All three of the Pokémon used by Pokémon Trainer are ironic when compared to their home series. Squirtle is the fastest of the three despite having the lowest base speed, Charizard is the slowest despite having the highest base speed, and Ivysaur is best at Anti-Air despite being weak against flying types.
    • Lucina's alternate costumes all give her different hair colors to match the various female characters from Awakening. This is reminiscent of how the child characters in that game had hair colors determined by their non-fixed parent; however, only one of Lucina's hair colors is based on a woman that Chrom could marry (Sumia), and Lucina was actually the only child to have a fixed hair color herself.
    • Back in Wii U, Viridi said it wouldn't make sense for Chrom to be a playable fighter because he'd be a Moveset Clone of Ike, with Palutena mentioning he doesn't have an Aether recovery like he does. In Ultimate, the Aether recovery is the only thing he copied from Ike, and he retains his own version of Aether as a Final Smash on top of that.
  • Tales of the Abyss has two examples in The Hero and the Big Bad; first the hero starts as a Spoiled Brat Jerkass but after the Wham Episode quickly becomes the nicest of the playable characters (the rest remain, to some degree or another, jerks). Meanwhile, the Big Bad's plan ultimately is to "save" the world by destroying and replacing it all in defiance of the Score. His actions result in the protagonist and team realizing he's got a point about the Score being crap and thus they manage to successfully free their world from it; a conclusion they wouldn't have come to if they weren't forced to prevent the Big Bad's plans.
  • Team Fortress 2:
    • The Heavy, who has a PhD in Russian Literature and is technically a "doctor", is reliant on the healing capability of The Medic, who lost his medical license some time ago.
    • The Medic can use a bust of Hippocrates - named in-game the Solemn Vow - to bludgeon people to death. "First Do No Harm", indeed.
    • The "Conscientous Objector" is a handheld wooden sign with the peace symbol drawn on it. You use this in the game to hit people and try to kill them.
  • Touhou:
    • The series has this in the form of Reisen Udongein Inaba, who is a "Master of Lunacy". The irony? She's probably the most rational character in the series.
    • Another irony occurs with Youmu Konpaku, who is terrified of ghost stories despite being half-ghost as well as the servant of Cute Ghost Girl Yuyuko Saigyouji.
  • The intro movie of the World of Warcraft add-on Wrath of the Lich King has a voice over of the words Arthas' father left for his son for the event of his own death, reminding him of the responsibilities of a just ruler and that he has complete confidence in Arthas becoming a great king. In Warcraft 3, Arthas murdered his own father, slaughtered the entire population of his country (he originally did it to prevent what he saw as a greater crisis), and turned the land into a blighted, monster-infested wasteland. He later became the Lich King, the greatest and most terrible tyrant of the world, but still a king. In Cataclysm, the Scarlet Crusade, a group of xenophobic undead hunters (undead being in their viewpoint as "everything that isn't a Scarlet") were all killed and reincarnated as scourge when their leader, the demon Balthazaar, decided to stop hiding as their former leader and just make them his slaves.
  • B.J. Blazkowicz, the player character in the Wolfenstein series, looks like the typical Nazi depiction of an Aryan....except for the fact that he's Polish on his father's side and Jewish on his mother's.
  • Wolfenstein: The New Order: All the crazy super-technology that the Nazis used to defeat the Allies and conquer the world? None of it is theirs. They were developed from stolen technology from an ancient techno-religious sect of Jewish scientists. It actually goes further than that if you consider that one of the fundamental beliefs of Nazi racist philosophy was that the Aryan race was endowed with creativity, the ability and will to help culture and technology progress. Other races could, at best, hope to enjoy the fruits of the Aryan's intellectual accomplishments, and the very lowest on the racial hierarchy - the Jews - are no more than cultural parasites who do so while lessening them. Meanwhile, in the game, the Nazis owe almost all of their technological superiority to advancements made by Jews, for a high, moral purpose, which they themselves stole and while lessening it immeasurably, turning their noble technology into tools of death and oppression.
    • Blonde, blue eyed, square jawed B.J. Blazkowicz, despite being of Polish descent and Jewish, looks like the perfect Aryan Übermensch, a fact that is lampshaded in several of the modern games.
  • In 2013, "The Year of Luigi" was started as a year-long celebration by Nintendo in dedication to Luigi, the meek and cowardly underdog who constantly lives in the shadow of Mario, his older brother and the #1 character of Nintendo and video gaming history. Sadly, 2013 also turned out to be one of the WORST years for Nintendo in terms of fiscal performance which also means that several of the games that were dedicated to Luigi didn't sell as well as Nintendo hoped.

    Visual Novels 
  • At the beginning of "The Atonement Chapter", of Higurashi: When They Cry, Shion went on a killing spree the last few episodes before that,and died in the last episode. She is then seen just sitting at Angel Mort, with her body guard, just being Shion.
  • Juniper's Knot: Before the fiend was trapped within the magical circle holding her captive, she had a human friend. When her friend was killed by humans, the fiend burned the town and killed them all. Years later, she returned to her friend's grave to find an ugly olive tree had grown over it. Still bitter over her death, she smashed the olive tree but left the roots alone because she didn't want to disturb her dead friend. Because olive trees are strong, it grew again, even uglier than before. In the present time, when the boy is looking to place a different life form within the circle so the fiend can get outnote , an olive tree is the only thing that manages to take root in the hard soil. It works, and the fiend goes free.
  • Tsukihime: So you have Brunestud of the Crimson Moon, a borderline cosmic entity and strongest being of Earth's moon. In comes Zelretch, looking to kill it. He goes about this by first using his power to manipulate dimensions to move their fight to another dimension. He then proceeds to drop the moon on Type Moon.

    Web Animation 
  • In Death Battle:
    • The crew of the Righteous Fury meet their ends by the hands of a justifiably furious Fox after killing Slippy.
    • The fight between Goku and Superman who both protect the Earth ends with it being destroyed by both heroes.
  • Happy Tree Friends uses situational irony a lot. Usually, a character will survive a horrible and destructive situation, but end up dying anyway, by, say, a throwaway item introduced earlier before. And, despite them dying, will end up in the exact same situation. So, ultimately, nothing gets accomplished.
  • In one Strong Bad Email, a fan told Strong Bad that he liked it better when Strong Bad simply answered the email without any gimmicks. After Strong Bad answers by expressing his agreement and supposedly ending the email, his computer spontaneously explodes.
  • RWBY: Beacon Academy is a metaphorical beacon of hope where Huntsmen and Huntresses were trained to fight monsters. At the end of Volume 3, it becomes a literal beacon for the very monsters they were trained to fight.
  • TED-Ed, a YouTube channel that's owned by Ted, has three different videos narrated by Christopher Warner and animated by Ben Pearce that explains three kinds of irony: situational irony, dramatic irony, and verbal irony.

    Web Comics 
  • Dork Tower: When you want to buy every comic, you can't afford it; when you can afford it, you want to be more selective. The comic book gods like a good laugh
  • Used often in 8-Bit Theater. An example would be in this comic with a double dose of irony, first when Black Mage's prediction of the most dangerous thing in the dungeon being "a stairwell without adequate railing" being immediately proven wrong by a dozen dragons showing up, then a few panels later when the party tumbles down the aforementioned stairwell.
  • In this strip of General Protection Fault, Nick, who had a history of being a Horrible Judge of Character with regards to Trudy, finds several flaws in Trish's story and decides not to trust her. Meanwhile, Ki is weighing whether to trust Trish, and decides that perhaps being a trusting person like Nick is not a bad thing, and decides to trust Trish.
  • In El Goonish Shive, when Justin was outed, Melissa was herself betrayed in exactly the same way he thinks she betrayed him.
  • Ghastly's Ghastly Comic has a particularly bizarre example, best summed up by the character in said comic:
    Jesus: "As much as I appreciate the irony that after three years of tentacle monsters violating nubile young women, otaku-trannies, and furry sex that it was an image of missionary position sex for the purpose of procreation that made our sponsors drop all their ads, the truth is that you've seriously jeopardized the continued hosting of this webcomic."
  • Tucker from Girls with Slingshots was introduced as a guy who was hopeless with women having "learned" everything about them from Romantic Comedies and its Clarice who then decides to teach him "How to Talk to Women 101"; however later on Clarice is revealed to be extremely lonely and starving for affection and when she starts to fall in love with Joshua, its Tucker, the same guy who she smacked for his cluelessness with romance, who ends up giving her relationship advice.
  • Homestuck:
    • The webcomic mixes both Socratic and Situational Irony. Doc Scratch uses a series of leading questions to convince Rose to embark on a specific mission. The situational irony comes into play when the mission, intended by Rose and Dave to destroy the Green Sun, results in the creation of the Green Sun instead.
    • During the conversation between Roxy, Dave, and Rose on the meteor, Roxy complains, after learning that Rose and Dave are both good at psychoanalyzing people, and that they must get their genes from Dirk, she immediately proceeds to ask Dave a few innocent questions that pierce right through his ironic facade.
  • In No Rest for the Wicked, after Perrault and his companions rescue two children from the Wicked Witch, Perrault feigns ignorance to question the innkeeper in the Socratic manner, about how they would protect the children henceforth. (Earlier, he had deduced that the parents had been at least negligent about their children's safety, and at least one had willfully abandoned his children.
  • This comic by The Oatmeal explains the three most common uses of irony.
  • Schlock Mercenary: Bunni and Theo discover that their memories of their wedding are fake and have a brief breakdown, especially in regards to Theo's broken vow of chastity. The events surrounding planning their new wedding (or more specifically, Bunni dodging responsibility for calling her mother) leads to the team discovering a black-ops immortality project in a slum. The irony is twofold: Not only were Bunni and Theo married by the people who erased their memories in a legal (albeit quick) ceremony, but the reason their memories were erased in the first place was because they discovered that there was a secret immortality project.
  • Spacetrawler: Rickshaw Boans thinks Krep isn't committed enough to the cause, and kicks him out of Interplanet Amity to prevent Krep from undermining the latest mission. Getting kicked out is what convinces Krep that Rickshaw is kind of a dick—and Krep decides to undermine him, by warning the intended victims of Rickshaw's latest mission.
  • Stand Still, Stay Silent has a couple of cases regarding Reynir's emerging magical powers:
    • The reason he hadn't realized he was a mage before joining the crew was that he never remembered his dreams and would hence visit the mage-exclusive dreamspace every night, but keep forgetting about it. The first time he remembers is by making an extra effort to remember his dreams... after being prompted towards it by Mikkel, who does not believe in magic.
    • Getting his powers taken seriously is a problem for Reynir after this: two people in the team don't believe in magic and two believe in magic, but sometimes seem to be taking his powers with a grain of salt (it takes Chapter 15 for Tuuri's first line that clearly shows that she has gotten around accepting that he's a mage, Chapter 17 for Sigrun). Lalli, meanwhile, dislikes Reynir on a personal level and doesn't speak his language, so he doesn't interact with him much. But if Reynir gives everyone his latest attempt at an anti-ghost rune, Lalli will test it if he actually runs into ghosts.
  • The irony of minorities becoming majorities in the United States is discussed in this comic from Statistical Fact.
  • In Heartcore, each of the overfiends represent one of the Seven Deadly Sins. Carval Volaster represents "Sloth", yet is the most hyper-active and confrontational of the overfiends. Word of God lampshades this in that "sloth" could either mean "physically inactive" (lazy) or "emotionally inactive" (apathetic). The former definition is not an accurate description of Carval, but the latter goes hand-in-hand with his Mad Bomber tendencies.
  • Wapsi Square: Is it ironic or fitting?

    Web Original 
  • The site, which theoretically seeks to increase understanding of Asperger's Syndrome. The site tells the story of Aspergia, a mythical Atlantis-like land where having Asperger's was the norm and their society was built around facilitating the unique quirks the disorder granted each member. Then it's destroyed and the survivors are forced to scatter and live in "normal" societies. The irony is that the ultimate message is that Aspies should be allowed to behave as such instead of being forced to learn to integrate with normal society, but that's the only reason the ones in the story survived at all. There's a couple more reasons why it's ironic, but those are incredibly cynical.
  • CinemaSins is a YouTube channel that "sins" movies for essentially anything they don't like — as such, some sins are for big plot-holes, while others are for minor things only nitpickers notice. The creators acknowledge this, but continue to make a single sin for each thing they notice. Why do they refuse to give the sins any value? Because they feel that if they did it would make them lose their value.
  • This CollegeHumor Video parodies the Alanis Morissette song and makes it "actually ironic".
  • In April of 2016, Jim Sterling of Jimquisition, who had had multiple different video game publishers and/or developers wrongfully accuse him of violating YouTube's Content ID rules, discovered a way to stop them monetizing his videos - make a video that two entities automatically tried to claim, and YouTube's system would be unable to automatically decide which one should profit from it - in other words, he discovered he could avoid being punished by doing more of the thing he was being punished for. If that wasn't ironic enough, in January of 2017, Jim found that "Chains Of Love", a song that had previously always been Content ID'd (making it perfect for blocking other Content IDs), was no longer forbidden, and so Jim had to find another entity to counter an inevitable Content ID from Nintendo. Jim ended blocking a Content ID from Nintendo by using videos from Nintendo's YouTube account, and from Nintendo's American YouTube account.
  • The Transformers episode of Demo Reel had the openly Bi the Way Donnie trying to play the dudebro Sam in parody of said movie.
  • In "Things I Found Stupid About School" by GradeAUnderA, the first point he makes is that making students write essay that are longer than they need to be, because there's a point where students will write unnecessary things to take up space, instead of being quick and concise - when Grade finishes, he admits that he spent an awfully long time complaining about being concise.
  • The Institute of Official Cheer, founded by a eunuch named Dick Peter Strochwacker (gelded in an unfortunate accident involving the arrow on a sculpture of Cupid), is devoted entirely to the study and extirpation of irony.
  • Ellen Baker is a character in a series of Japanese-language English textbooks whose design earned her a lot of fanart (especially after the original artist asked people to stop making Rule 34 of her)... a great deal of it prominently featuring Engrish.
  • In The Mysterious Mr. Enter's review of "Love Loaf", he proclaimed that Nickelodeon was no longer one of the big three kid's networks due to its string of terrible shows and that The Hub has taken its place in that spot. Within two years of making that video, The Hub has imploded into Discovery Family and only seems to have one very popular show still airing while Nickelodeon has seen a noticeable resurgence in quality with shows like Harvey Beaks and The Loud House, both of which he likes.
  • Oliver Harper's Retrospectives and Reviews: When he points out how good Highlander II's updated special effects look, despite the film's poor reputation:
    Oliver Harper: It's funny how a film regarded as one of the worst sequels ever made gets such good treatment later in life.
  • Orion's Arm puts a number of philosophies under the umbrella of "communism". One of those in Objectivism.
  • Rinkworks' Computer Stupidities stories have a few examples:
    • A systems administrator installed a security program on a network to protect it from viruses, but one still got in. It was later learned that the virus was introduced on the software to install the security program.
    • A psychologist was given a new computer, but broke down crying because she couldn't figure out how to use it. This is despite the IT tech setting up the new computer to mimic her old one as closely as possible. Her psychological specialty is human memory systems.
    • This message:
      By the way, what does BTW stand for?
    • A user had a girlfriend who was a big fan of The Little Mermaid and downloaded a Little Mermaid screen saver for her. A month later, he discovered that the image from the screen saver was burned into the monitor glass, which is what screen savers are supposed to prevent.
    • A programming teacher gave his students their first assignment and told them not to worry about errors since everyone makes mistakes the first time. One student went to another teacher in tears because she couldn't find any errors in her completed assignment. She didn't realize she had written and executed a flawless program.
  • Came up in one update by That Guy with the Glasses, when Doug explained that he wasn't getting videos out as fast because of problems with his computer; namely, that it was constantly playing audio from the movie Ghostbusters (1984) for no reason. That's right: a computer was haunted by the Ghostbusters.
  • YouTube personality Tobuscus has a Running Gag that he's allergic to alliteration. His real name is Toby Turner.
  • This Cracked article. Like Ghetto's Tax below, You Get Charged for Using Your Own Money and you pay more money if you are poor for necessities per year.
  • Wikipedia's "Things Wikipedia Is Not" page includes a link to an Outtakes page, which is sort of a Just for Fun version of the normal one. One of the things on this Outtakes page is "Wikipedia is not Tv Tropes", with an edited version of the front page of this website. The front page of this site has since been rewritten, and no longer contains any of the phrases they parodied.
    We are Wikipedia. We're a buttload more formal. We don't really encourage breezy language and original thought as much as that other wiki. ThereIsSuchThingAsNotability, and citations are needed. If your entry cannot gather any evidence by the Wiki Magic, it will be deleted in fairly short order.
  • The YouTube video "10 Mistakes in Inside Out" itself made at least three mistakes:
    1. There were only 8 "mistakes" in it.
    2. One was when Joy, Sadness and Bing-Bong decide to go through the Abstract Thought Chamber rather than around it. This was a bad judgement call by the characters — a quite common type of false "mistake".
    3. Another was when the three were in the Chamber, which got turned on, and they were fighting its effects (literally pulling themselves together, and reattaching bits which came off). One such reattachment happened off-screen, and according to the video-maker, this somehow made it a "mistake".
  • The YouTube video explaining why YouTube video view counts sometimes freeze at 301 is frozen at 301 views, as a joke/homage to its subject.
  • On This Very Wiki:
    • On the Cowboy BeBop at His Computer article main page (about mistakes in various media), the explanation of the Trope Namer page image (about how the description of the image is supposedly nothing but errors) itself contained errors, perhaps most notably the complaint that the computer isn't owned by the character seated at so "it isn't her computer". Whoever wrote that had clearly never read Agatha Christie's Sparkling Cyanide, which hinges on (and thoroughly explains) this kind of faulty logic; even someone who has never heard of the show can clearly see that it definitely is "her computer" in at least the sense that it's the one she is using at the moment.note  This has been corrected on the Main page, but not the Anime And Manga page.
    • Disaster Dominoes is listed under Comedy Tropes, but the Real Life folder is made up almost entirely of tragedies at best and literal disasters at worst. (The sinking of the Titanic, the Chernobyl explosion, the Tenerife airport disaster...)
  • Analyst Bronies React: Irony in slow roasted form is Applejack's favorite dish.
    Thespio: Oh, it's gonna taste so good by the second act!

    Western Animation 
  • American Dad! has a brief example of historical irony:
    (After a lady gives a speech on how alcohol killed her teenage daughter)
    Principal Shepherd: Thank you Mrs. Holiday. Your last name is very misleading given your tragic circumstances.
  • In the Avatar: The Last Airbender short "School Time Shipping", Aang, Zuko, Jet, and Haru all compete each other to take Katara to the school dance. In the end, Katara goes with the Blue Spirit, Zuko's alter ego, saying that she "preferred the mysterious type." "I did NOT see that coming," says Zuko as Katara and the spirit walks off into the sunset.
  • The Legend of Korra:
  • Cellbound has an example of tragic irony. The prisoner is making preparations to escape jail and makes some small talk in order to quell the warden's suspicions, including a random mention of an "anniversary", thus prompting the warden to remember his forgotten wedding anniversary and run off to buy a gift for his wife. The gift? The TV inside which the prisoner intends to smuggle himself out.
  • Cow and Chicken was accused of being a ripoff of The Ren & Stimpy Show. Series creator John K. stated that Cow and Chicken is actually his favorite cartoon from the 90's. It's practically the only one he does like.
  • Drawn Together was advertised as TV's first animated reality show. It is arguably the most unrealistic animated show ever made, as characters frequently die and come back in the same episode.
  • One episode of Duckman has the title character buy a security system to keep his house safe. The night after it's installed, a pair of burglars drive by, see the sign for the security company, and realize that somebody lives there. They look up the system's technical specifications and successfully rob Duckman's house. Thus, the security system not only fails to protect Duckman's house, it actually leads to it getting robbed.
  • In the Ed, Edd n Eddy episode "All Eds Are Off," when Ed won the ending-habits-bet and decided to spend the prize money on gravy.
    Eddy: [angry] "Oh come on! You're gonna spend the money on more gravy?"
    Edd: [happy] "Irony, Eddy. Look that up in the dictionary."
  • Family Guy:
    Fireman: It looks like the cause of the fire was these stress relief candles.
    Chief: Huh. Irony!
    • In the episode "Peterotica" this happens:
    Kool-Aid Man: (after a car crashes into his house) Wow. From the other side, that's kinda annoying.
    • In "Da Boom", the Griffins get kicked out of the post-apocalyptic town they founded when Peter spends the peoples' tax money on guns. After the people burn the guns in a bonfire, Stewie's mutant spawn attack them and they're no match for them without the guns.
    Man: Hey Bob, remember the other day when you were asking me what the definition of irony was, and I said—(gets attacked by an Octo-Stewie)
  • G.I. Joe uses a number of weapons and vehicles in their war against Cobra. One of these is the Dragonfly attack helicopter whose design is based on the real life Bell AH-1 Cobra.
  • Kaeloo: The Growing Up Sucks themed episode ends with Kaeloo, Stumpy and Quack Quack singing a song about what a wonderful friend Mr. Cat is to them. At the moment they're singing this, Mr. Cat is running around looking for a bazooka or other weapon to kill them with.
  • The Coyote/Roadrunner Looney Tunes are cosmic irony incarnate. A good example is the time Wile E. straps himself to a motorized scooter headed for a cliff. He manages to free himself as it goes over, and just before falling, watches the scooter land safely on the other side.
  • In a Mickey Mouse Works short, Minnie becomes tired of eating the same sandwiches at picnics because Mickey can't cook. When Micky later sees Minnie talking to José Carioca (of all people) about how he's going to prepare her a gourmet meal, he panics (thinking that Minnie wants to date José because of his cooking ability) and tries to learn how to cook. Minnie tells him that's not necessary, because she was just hiring José to cater their picnics. Cut to the picnic, and what is the gourmet food José has prepared? The exact same sandwiches that Mickey has been making the whole time. In trying to spice things up, Minnie has made things exactly same. The irony is not lost on her.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic:
    • Queen Chrysalis is powered by love, yet she is defeated by it.
    • Sweetie Belle even lampshades how ironic life can get in "One Bad Apple" when they realize they've resorted to bullying to get back at a formerly bullied bully who was only bullying them to avoid getting bullied herself.
    • Meta Example: None of the American voice actors for the main characters are American, they're all Useful Notes/{{CanadÀa}}ian. Although one of them lives and works in California.
    • "Weird Al" Yankovic guest-voiced a character on the show named Cheese Sandwich. Weird Al himself is a vegan.
    • In Twilight's Kingdom Part 2, it's Discord, a Magnificent Bastard of all people, that hands Twilight the final key to help her open the box.
    • Twilight Sparkle is the Princess of Friendship, yet she has an Ambiguous Disorder heavily implied to be autism, a social learning disability.
    • Discord is an incredibly powerful Mad God who is constantly one step ahead of his opponents... and loses repeatedly when he assumes that their very simple tactics - which he sees right through - couldn't possibly work since he sees them coming. Luna and Celestia, Twilight Sparkle, and Fluttershy (twice) all defeat him by methods he knew they would try, but completely discounted.
  • "One Froggy Evening". A man wants to make money off a singing frog, only the frog won't perform in front of anyone else, making financial exploitation of its talents impossible. It also contains an example of dramatic/tragic irony at the end, when the Future Construction Worker runs off excitedly with the frog. You know full well what is going to happen.
  • The Disney Wartime Cartoon Reason and Emotion ends with a lesson that you shouldn't let fear overcome either of those traits. But since it is a propaganda short, it is itself using fear to intimidate the viewer.
  • In Recess, Spinelli, in an attempt to keep her friends from finding out about her parents (she feels embarrassed by them), tried to lie to them by claiming her parents were spies/secret agents. In the ending of the episode, it turns out they actually are secret agents.
  • Rugrats:
    • In the episode "At The Movies" the babies end up in a movie showing two people kissing. Lil then says:
    Lil: I hate kissing movies. Nothing ever happens.
    • In another episode, Angelica believes she is a psychic. However she gets the word wrong and says "psycho" instead. So when she goes around referring to herself as "Angelica, your psycho friend" the fans wholeheartedly agree.
  • In Samurai Jack. Qouth The Scotsman, "You are the only stranger I know."
  • In The Amazing World of Gumball:
    • The pest control agent is a cockroach.
    • In the episode "The Nest," after being mauled by a little kitten, Gumball says "And that's why I'm not a cat person" which he literally is.
    • In "The Boredom", Gumball and Darwin go in search of exciting things to do or see, but end up missing all of them because of their obliviousness of their surroundings.
    • Played straight as a joke and an excuse at the end of "The Copycats", where Gumball and Darwin say they can't be replaced, even though their voice actors have been multiple times due to puberty, including this very time.
  • The Simpsons:
    • This dialogue:
    Lisa: I think it's ironic that Dad saved the day while a slimmer man would have fallen to his death.
    Bart: And I think it's ironic that for once Dad's butt prevented the release of toxic ga—
    Marge: Bart!
    • Also:
    Homer: So, Mr. Burglar. It seems the cat has been caught by exactly the person who was trying to catch him.
    Skinner: How ironic.
    • Then there's the time Barney wins the town's film festival with an entry depicting the hardships of suffering from alcoholism.
    Barney: I've learned that I have a gift to share with the world. From now on, I'll be a new Bernard Gumbel; clean, sober, and hardworking.
    Quimby: Congratulations, Barney, and enjoy your grand prize: a lifetime supply of Duff beer. (curtains open to reveal a huge truck filled with Duff Beer)
    Barney: Huh? [pulls up sleeve] Just hook it into my veins!
    • Another good example is the Car Built for Homer. It (in)famously ended up costing $82,000.00. The irony is that it was supposed to be the car designed by the average citizen for the average citizen. The new car was also suppose to increase Powell Motors' sales. It ended up bankrupting it.
    • In 'Homer and Apu' the two go to meet the head of the Kwik-E-Mart who resides in the words first convenience store, Said store being at the top of a mountain range.
    • In "The Dad Who Knew Too Little", a private eye ends up getting blinded, but Homer instead points out this:
    Homer: How ironic. Now he's blind after a life of enjoying being able to see.
    • "Miracle On Evergreen Terrace" has Bart accidentally set all the Christmas presents on fire with a firetruck.
    • In "Homerazzi", the valuables the Simpsons put in a fire-proof safe end up setting themselves on fire.
    • There are dozens of noncanonical "Treehouse Of Horror" episodes featuring supernatural stuff. The show itself is already a Fantasy Kitchen Sink. It's just that everyone ignores the supernatural stuff.
  • South Park:
    • In "Cartman Joins NAMBLA," Kenny spends the whole episode trying to stop his father from impregnating his mother, then when that doesn't work, he tries to get rid of the unborn baby anyway. In the end, Kenny dies (again) before the baby is born, and the baby becomes him.
    • Cartman's Small Name, Big Ego alter-ego "The Coon", also known as a racial slur for black people.
  • Star vs. the Forces of Evil: In the episode "Blood Moon Ball", Marco tries to rescue Star from the Blood Moon Ball after hearing that the Blood Moon is the moon of lovers. Star and Marco end up dancing under the light of the Blood Moon, but Star gets angry at Marco for crashing the ball and not trusting her to handle herself. She tells Marco that she just needs him to be her friend, basically telling him to back off. So it came to be quite the surprise when it turned out that Star is the one to eventually grow a crush on Marco in "Sleepover", not the other way around.
  • Star Wars Rebels: Almost everything Agent Kallus does in the first two seasons, after his Heel–Face Turn during the Time Skip between his last season 2 appearance (which ended with him having a Heel Realization) and season 3. It's very interesting, after watching season 3, to rewatch the first two seasons and compare his behaviour.
  • Superjail! is a meta-example. This Bloody Hilarious show by Augenblick Studios was often compared to Metalocalypse for the extreme levels of gore and carnage. However, when the company behind Metalocalypse produced the second season of the show, since Augenblick was unavailable, the bloody contents were toned down greatly.
  • Amethyst and Pearl from Steven Universe bicker due to personality differences. However, a closer examination will show that they both have a similar backstory and inferiority issues, in addition to growing up mostly friendless and losing their loved one. It's probably not a coincidence Amethyst comforted Pearl after Garnet got mad at Pearl for lying to her so they could fuse into Sardonyx (which Pearl did in order to feel stronger).
  • The Irony can be found in Team Umizoomi, where it's a show about math and 2 of our 3 main character has only four of all 5 fingers.
  • In Totally Spies!, Max Exterminus is a former insect exterminator who turns himself into a human-cockroach hybrid.
  • The Disney's One Saturday Morning block that used to be on ABC. They advertised it as "the best thing to happen to weekends since... Saturday!" and sang that it was like "five hours of summer once a week" in its theme song. But most of the shows on the block were cartoons that took place almost entirely at school, something kids clearly don't associate with Saturday or summer. Court dates are not easily associated with summer either.

    Real Life 
  • Allergy medication contains several active ingredients. It's possible to be allergic to these.
  • Some anti-depressants can cause suicidal thoughts.
  • discovered that the seller of Nineteen Eighty-Four had violated copyright on the book and remotely deleted it from all Kindles of their customers. In doing so, they inadvertently performed actions like those of Big Brother in the book.
  • The astronauts in the Apollo 1 fire died because the capsule door had been bolted on; if the door could have been opened, not only could the astronauts have left the burning capsule, but the influx of normal atmosphere (as opposed to the pure oxygen environment inside) would have immediately doused the flames. The irony is that the original plan called for the use of explosive bolts, but NASA refused to use them due to concerns about the risk of having the bolts blow accidentally while in orbit. It is also an example of both tragic and historical irony, as is now known, after a long history of explosive bolts use, that their primary mode of failure is not "blowing up accidentally", but, quite contrary, not blowing up when commanded to. Which is exactly opposite to NASA's initial fears. The Apollo 1 fire is also tragic and/or historical irony because the door mechanism was changed due in part to the premature firing of explosive bolts during the second Mercury flight, piloted by... Gus Grissom, who died in the Apollo 1 fire.
  • Apple aired advertisements in which they asserted that while PCs were chocablock with viruses, Macs had none. The people's natural reaction to something like this was to write up some brand new viruses (exclusively for the Mac!) for the benefit of Mac users worldwide. Apple has also asserted that because OS X is fully UNIX compliant, it's very secure. Except security reports and hackers routinely find more holes in it than Windows or Linux.
  • As far as Association Football (and, more specifically, the Spanish Football League) goes, the fact that clubs Real Madrid and Atlético Madrid were founded by Catalans and Basques, respectively, gives a hilarious perspective to their local rivalries with Barcelona (Catalonia) and Athletic Club (Euskadi), especially since the latter two clubs come from separatist regions of Spain.
  • The 1936 Berlin Olympics were supposed to extol Nazi ideals, especially Aryan racial purity. They are remembered primarily for the triumph of black sprinter Jesse Owens.
  • The Big Bang is often thought of as an anti-religious idea. It was actually first proposed by Georges Lemaitre, a Catholic priest, who said the math fit the data—but others couldn't help but note that it conveniently left a place for God and Creation: if there's a Big Bang, that means there's a starting point to the Universe—and therefore, you can—and the modern Catholic Church does!—interpret the Big Bang as the Biblical Creation. "Serious" secular scientists scoffed, and opposed the theory because it was too religious; the Universe, they insisted, had always been and always would be the same (the "steady state" theory). Then they got some new data and ran the numbers... and were forced to admit that Lemaitre was right.
  • The Dutch copyright watchdog BREIN was sued in December 2011 for using songs by Melchior Rietveldt for anti-piracy ads without securing the rights first.
  • The 2010 British general election saw a surge in Liberal Democrat popularity. A lot of their votes came from people who voted for one of two reasons: keeping the Tories out, or the Lib Dems' pledge not to increase tuition fees (they got a lot of student votes). Fast forward a few months? Not only have the Lib Dems formed a coalition which got the Conservatives into government, but documents were leaked revealing the the Lib Dems were planning to drop the fees pledge two months before the general election.

    Incidentally, the other main reason for people voting Lib Dem - that they seemed different from the other two mains, more trustworthy, etc. — probably also counts as irony, considering that whole planning-to-break-their-main-pledge thing. Nick Clegg was... not a popular man in Britain.
  • Following the formation of the Republic of China, Sun Yat-sen wanted to introduce a more modern form of formal wear for use by Chinese politicians, while also getting rid of the traditional Manchu clothing whose wear was required by the now-defunct Qing Dynasty for their officials, and in doing so, create a signature look for the new Republic. Thus was developed the Zhongshan suit, combining Eastern and Western clothing styles and sensibilities without being too much like either. It became quite popular with government officials, and was required wear for those attending Parliament. As it became an accepted and recognized dress among China's communist political leaders (who were allowed in on an individual basis, not as the communist party as a whole), it soon became the standard suit of both the Nationalist and Communist political parties. When the Republic of China lost the Chinese Civil War and the nation became the communist People's Republic of China, Mao Zedong adopted the suit for his government and became its most famous wearer. Eventually, what had once been a suit intended to be worn by the Nationalist politicians and military became a symbol of proletarian unity among the common populace of Communist China. Because of this, the outfit became closely associated with both Chairman Mao and the Chinese Communist movement, gaining the popular nickname of the "Mao suit".
  • Christopher Dorner was dismissed from the LAPD after he was determined to have lied about another officer using excessive force on a suspect. He claimed he was wrongfully dismissed for being a whistleblower, and because his colleagues were racist. His response? Murder the daughter of the lawyer (and police captain) who defended him from charges of making false statements, said daughter's fiance, one of the police officers who was chasing him for having committed the first two murders, shoot several other officers who were pursuing him while making his escape, and eventually shoot himself once the police had him cornered. All this while claiming that another police officer had kicked a subdued suspect on one occasion. A bit excessive, huh?
  • Commodore's C64GS is recognized as the worst selling video game console of all time, selling around 2000 units. The irony is that it's based on the hardware of the Commodore 64, the best selling home computer of all time. (Sales estimates vary from ten million to seventeen million.)
  • The Commonwealth games are essentially the British version of the Olympics. Being that, you'd assume England would have the most medals in their own game, right? Wrong, it's Australia, and it's made all the more ironic as these games are British derived. Of course, England invented a number of sports such as Rugby (both codes), Association Football, and Cricket, and their sports teams have underachieved on the world stage, with other countries being far better at them.
  • There is one notable case in the history of communism, in which the workers united and rose up to fight against an oppressive regime that was controlled by a small group of people, who ruled by intimidation and exploitation, while they themselves lived in luxury, and for the first time successfully gained true democracy. And just as Karl Marx had intended when he wrote "Working Men of All Countries, Unite!", the uprising spread through numerous other countries as well. This took place in Poland in 1989, and the system they opposed and overthrew was the supposed communism of the Eastern Bloc countries.
  • Despite his ongoing struggle against communist China, the Dalai Lama is a self-described Marxist (of course, he doesn't believe China ever truly implemented Marxism, along with many other Marxists).
  • NASCAR driver Dale Earnhardt, a.k.a. The Intimidator, was known for his offensive driving style. Except for one day when he decided to drive defensively — February 28, 2001, the day he was hit from behind and sent into the wall, killing him. Furthermore, NASCAR is known for some rather scary-looking crashes with cars getting their bodywork torn off, cars rolling over, cars getting flipped into the air, and cars catching fire on occasion, but the drivers usually aren't seriously injured.note ) Earnhardt's fatal crash had him spin out, hit the wall, and get rammed by another driver, quite tame-looking in comparison.
  • Back in 1901, mathematician David Hilbert gave student Werner Boy the task of proving that the real projective plane could not be immersed (placed in such a way that there are no "singularities" or pinch-points on it) in 3 dimensions. So Boy went and discovered this.
  • Apparently, a 99 year old woman by the name of Debbie Mills, was killed on her birthday when she was inadvertently struck by the truck delivering the cake to celebrate it.
  • The 2010 explosion and sinking of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico had the potential to become the worst ecological disaster in American history. While the explosion took place on April 20, the actual sinking - which started the discharge of thousands of barrels of crude oil into the Gulf - happened on April 22... Earth Day.
  • While extremely rare, it is possible to be both diabetic and allergic to insulin.
  • was a web site used to check if a certain site is down. It is permanently down.
  • Similarly to the above, when a major part of the Amazon Cloud suffered massive problems, Amazon's cloud service status page continued to show that nothing was wrong — because the status page was itself hosted on that part of the cloud, and the problems prevented it updating.
  • Richard Dadd (BBC News article here) was a patricide.
  • The Eclipse IDE for the Java programming language automatically highlights variable names which aren't used in your code, to let you know they're unused. You can add an annotation to the top of your file to disable the highlighting. However, if every variable in your code is used, the annotation telling the program to turn off unused variable highlighting is itself highlighted, to let you know it's unused.
  • There is economical study that finds that in 1950s-forward, countries that have less natural resource grows slower than countries that have poor natural resources. The logic behind this finding is countries with less natural resources can develop their industries earlier rather than process their natural resources-related economics.
  • A man once built an electric car and took it in for inspection. You'd think that an electric car, being a zero-emission vehicle, would easily pass an emissions test. Instead, the car failed the emissions test because it didn't have an exhaust pipe to hook up the testing equipment.
  • The five elements, as described by Western philosophers, are Earth, Water, Fire, Air, and Aether. Earth and Air are a mixture of elements, Water is a compound of Hydrogen and Oxygen, and Fire is a reaction. And the five elements as described by Eastern Philosophers are Wood, Water, Fire, Metal, and Earth - Wood is a variety of organic compounds, and metal actually covers several different elements.
  • Elmuh Fudd Syndwome, the inability to pronounce the letter R (and related sounds) properly, is called "Rhotacism" and thus cannot be properly pronounced by anyone who suffers from it. In an additional irony, a PERSON with rhotacism cannot pronounce r-sounds, but a LANGUAGE with rhotacism is a language with (certain kinds of) r-sounds.
  • Enron's slogan was "Ask Why"; one of the biggest reasons for its fall was no one questioned where it was getting its money from (mark-to-marketing fraud). When confronted by it by an investor over the phone, Jeffrey Skilling called him an "asshole". That lead to the Memetic Mutation: "Ask Why, Asshole." invoked
    Cinemablend: People weren’t asking questions when Enron was earning Americans billions of dollars, helping to drive the stock market to new heights. Pointing out the irony of Enron’s slogan “ask why”, the movie indicates things might have played out much differently if more people in the general public had posed that very question during the company’s rise to glory.
  • Ernesto Miranda, the criminal defendant whose appeal gives Miranda rights (the right to remain silent, the right to have an attorney, etc.) was murdered on January 31, 1976. As he lay bleeding out, the police arrived and arrested his killer, reading him his Miranda rights.
  • This happens a lot with fandoms, including but not limited to Computer Wars and Console Wars. Someone with brand loyalty calls a fan of that brand's competition a "sheep who is supporting rich greedy bastards".
  • A British fascist tried burning an EU flag, claiming that its bureaucracy was unhealthy and that its laws somehow were designed to help enforce genocide. The attempted burning essentially functioned as, to quote a commentator, "[a North West Infidels] note  public safety film on how EU consumer laws on fire retardant flags are keeping us safe".
  • The word feminism was coined by a man.
  • Ferdinand Marcos attained supreme power by declaring Martial Law in 1972 and proclaimed that he would use this power to make the Philippines into "a great country without political or social strife". Unfortunately, declaring martial law is what set off the following power keg of violence that was created by his corrupt government which also happened to turn a promising trend of economic growth into a debt crisis of extreme poverty.
  • The inventor of the fire hydrant is unknown. Why? Because the United States Patent Office burned to the ground in 1836.
  • The Forth Bridge in Edinburgh was notorious for taking a long time to be painted to the point where a never-ending task was said to be "like painting the Forth Bridge". In 2011, it was announced that National Rail was finished and the bridge wouldn't need to be painted again for twenty-five years. Thus, the task of painting the Forth Bridge is no longer "like painting the Forth Bridge".
  • Freight transported by car is called shipment. Freight transported by ship is called cargo.
  • Tragic Irony: Fritz Haber, a Jewish German chemist co-headed a research team who invented a way to use hydrogen cyanide as an insecticide. His invention was branded for commercial sale as "Zyklon A"—minor modifications to which would produce "Zyklon B". This was developed and manufactured by the chemical monopoly IG Farben for use by the Concentration Camps Directorate at the Belzec extermination facility in March-September 1942, and the Auschwitz-II/Birkenau extermination facility which operated from July 1942-January 1945. It killed between 1.4 and 2 million people including members of Haber's family - though of course if Zyklon-B had not been available then the usual methods of shooting (at least 2 million depending upon definition) and Carbon Monoxide vehicle exhaust (nearly 2 million) would have been used instead. Haber also did everything within his powers to help Germany win World War I as a patriot. His actions probably caused the deaths of tens, or even hundreds, of thousand more soldiers than had his team of researchers done nothing. Specifically, they created the Haber process to produce artificial nitrates which let Germany maintain a high output of nitrate fertiliser and explosives after her bat guano imports were cut off. Without them, German ammunition production would have been far lower. note  He also invented chemical warfare as a way to make fighting Germany too horrible for anyone to pursue. After the war he won the Nobel Prize for his nitrates work, focusing on the agricultural side. Hank Green thinks this is a bit rich.
  • After George Harrison of The Beatles died, a tree was planted in his memory. In 2014, the tree died... from an infestation of beetles.
  • Back when he was in high school, George Lucas was thinking of becoming a race-car driver. Shortly before graduation, he got into an accident while racing. So, he decided to become a filmmaker instead. The irony lies in the details of the crash: after Lucas left the track and hit a tree, his seat belt broke and he was thrown from the car. The car he had been racing against then went off the track after him and hit his car, crushing it. He survived the crash because his seat belt failed.
  • In George Orwell's writings, he deplored the abuse of language (particularly with words like "fascism") and subsequent loss of meaning into cheap swearwords and scapegoating as a result. Today, the term "Orwellian" (which in another irony is associated with everything Orwell detested) is used in almost the exact same way.
  • On example of tragic irony, Ghetto's Tax is the fact that poor people have to pay more for daily necessities than their middle class fellows.
  • The popularity of Greek texts across all fields of knowledge led to Greek becoming the lingua franca of the ancient world. As such no one ever bothered to translate them into other languages. So in late antiquity when Latin overtook Greek in popularity in the west, and the Roman empire was split in two, the Latin west eventually ended up with Greek texts that they were unable to read. Aristotle ended up being the preeminent Greek philosopher not because of the superiority of his ideas, but because a philosopher called Simplicius of Cilicia had bothered to translate some of his works into Latin during late antiquity. When the Greek East finally reestablished contact with the Latin West, they were rather nonplussed with the singular admiration the west heaped upon Aristotle; those who could read Greek preferred Plato.
  • In 2013, Greenheart Games released Game Dev Tycoon, a game development sim. They released both a normal version (which they sold commercially) and a cracked version (which they allowed to be pirated.) The interesting difference between the two is that in the cracked version, reaching a certain point of the game causes the player's company to fall victim to game pirates and go bankrupt. And wouldn't you know it? Players who pirated the game ended up complaining about piracy making the game unwinnable.
  • Gung-ho is a term used to describe someone thoughtless and overeager, but the original Chinese meaning is "working together", something a Leeroy Jenkins-type wouldn't be particularly good at doing.
  • Gunpowder was original made in an attempt to find an elixir to extend life.
  • The central focus of Hanukkah is the oil lamp that was expected to last one day, but lingered on for eight. In spite of this, Hanukkah candles melt and burn out quicker than regular candles.
  • Five Star Badass General of the Air Force Henry "Hap" Arnold commanded the Army Air Forces during World War II, and is considered the Father of the US Air Force. Aside from being an accomplished pilot and aviation officer, he was also afraid of heights, due to being one of the first people in history to be in a plane crash.
  • Hippopotomonstrosesquipedaliophobia, a large word, means fear of large words.
  • Iceland is green. Greenland is ice.
  • Igloos: Structures intended to keep people warm, made from a material that can't stand moderate levels of heat.
  • It is perhaps one of history's greatest ironies that The Illuminati has become the most widely used label for the evil Conspiracy archetype in fiction and among real Conspiracy Theorists, in that the actual Bavarian Illuminati was a group of... secular libertarians dedicated to subverting monarchism and religious fundamentalism and spreading democracy and Enlightenment-era ideals. You know, basically the opposite of what the Illuminati is perceived as today. This naturally made them widely reviled by monarchists and religious conservatives, the Catholic Church in particular, and led to them being banned in their native Bavaria. However, right-wing reactionaries continued to blame them for several events in European history thereafter, most notably The French Revolution, thus turning them into villainous boogeymen and laying the groundwork for their current status in pop culture and conspiracy theories.
  • The 2014 Indianapolis 500 (as well as the 2016 and 2017 runnings) featured one female driver out of a field of thirty-three. Her name? Pippa Mann.
  • Often when people, especially young people on the internet (e.g., the website Encyclopedia Dramatica) attempt to be edgy; they say and/or do politically incorrect things. In the days before PC was widespread (i.e., the mid-to-late 70's), being politically correct in and of itself was considered edgy, due to lingering sexist/racist attitudes still in society.
  • Back in the Middle Ages, Islam was very widespread, and the caliphs of the time allowed many subjects of different religions to keep practice their own religion (albeit while also paying a tax for do that). They were also very advanced, coming up with the system of mathematics that we use today along with advanced medicine. Fast forward to today, where a lot of the Middle East is considered a primitive, old-fashioned backwater filled with very intolerant fundamentalist jihadists.
  • Joseph Haydn wrote "Gott Erhalte Franz Den Kaiser", the melody for what would become the National Anthem of the Holy Roman Empire (and subsequently Austria-Hungary and Germany: Today the melody is used for the German National Anthem). The melody was written in honour of Francis II, in an attempt to unite the Empire in the face of French aggression in 1797. Francis II was the last Holy Roman Emperor; a decade after the song's composition the Empire had fallen to Napoleon.
  • A "this day in quotes" page on the Karl Marx misquote “Workers of the World, Unite! You have nothing to lose but your chains!” includes the correct quote, "Working Men of All Countries, Unite!”; and on at least some browsers, the words "All Countries" are a link... leading to a get-rich-quick video.
  • On September 1st, 1983, a Korean Air Lines passenger aircraft was shot down by a Soviet interceptor after it had accidentally strayed into restricted airspace. The plane was shot down as a U.S recon mission simultaneously occurred in the area, and the Soviets would later claim that the plane was acting as a spy craft. The unfortunate aircraft's flight number? 007.
  • The Korean War has been called the "forgotten war" and has often been seen as merely ominous foreshadowing of The Vietnam War. However, it's the outcome of the Korean War, not the Vietnam War, which has had the greater impact on twenty-first century politics. North Korea has secured itself a place in international news for years what with their nuclear threats and so forth. Have you heard anything at all about what's going on in Vietnam right now?note  Thought so. In retrospect, it seems like the "forgotten war" may have been the more important one. And, of course, there's the fact that North Korea's actions are making the "forgotten war" less and less forgotten all the time.
  • In 1980, grocery chain Kroger withdrew from most of Michigan due to issues with local unions. The stores around the Tri-Cities (Bay City, Midland, Saginaw) and Flint were bought by a local businessman, who fashioned them into a new chain called Kessel Food Market. Kessel fared reasonably well in the area, even buying out a few other stores to expand its territory. In the late 1990s, most of the stores were bought out and converted… to Kroger.
  • Laos is an Asian country in Southeast Asia whose people are known as Laotian. The pronunciation of which is Lay-Ocean, which might make you assume they are a country by the sea. However, Laos is landlocked between Vietnam, Myanmar, Cambodia, and Thailand.
    • Ocean is an English word, maybe irony only happen in English Language.
  • It was a cruel man that put the "s" in "lisp."
  • Through constant abuse, "literally" has acquired a secondary meaning as a general intensifier — a not-at-all-literal meaning.
  • Right before World War II, the Italian seaplane model Macchi M.C.72 held the world speed record for all aircrafts (and still holds it as far as propeller-driven seaplanes are involved). During the war, the Royal Italian Air Force fielded the FIAT CR.42 biplane fighter, one of the slowest fighters of the war (and slower than its competitor, but selected for superior manouverability). For added irony, it's one of the fastest biplanes in history, with the experimental CR.42DB variant being the fastest biplane ever flown.
  • Mel Blanc, known for being the voice of Bugs Bunny, hated carrots and would spit them out after recording lines that required a munching sound.
  • Melanie Lynskey said that her first American audition went very badly with the casting director criticizing everything about her. Among his complaints was his uncertainty of her ability to speak with an American accent. Today, Miss Lynskey has played numerous American characters and can perform an American accent so convincingly, many people are surprised to discover she's from New Zealand.
  • The former president of Mothers Against Drunk Driving was arrested for DUI.
  • During the Anglo-Zulu War, Napoleon Eugéne (Napoleon III's son) managed to get sent there as part of the army, but the government (and his mother, Empress Eugenia de Montijo) had him join a scout group, afraid that he would get killed in battle, and he also had a large escort around in order to protect him. He died when the scout group he was a part of was attacked by the Zulus, who also realised that one of the men in the group had to be important, because so many were fighting to keep him alive...
  • On 14 November 2016, an IT employee of the National Health Service sent a test email to a badly configured mailing list, resulting in it being sent out to (reportedly) every email adress in the NHS (at least 850,000 of them). Many people replied to the list to say "do not reply to all" — using reply-to-all to do so, in the process flooding the list with millions more emails which gridlocked the entire system for several hours.
  • When the Netherlands won the European football (soccer, for Americans) championship in 1988, Dutch folk singer André Hazes released the song "Wij houden van Oranje" / "Wij ♥ Oranje" note  The irony? The song is set on the centuries-old tune of Auld Lang Syne, which is Scottish, and the Scottish are participating in the European championship within the U.K. note  themselves and the U.K. are strong soccer rivals of the Netherlands. Plus, the song is traditionally used for sadder occasions, like funerals, and here it was a victory song. Nevertheless it stuck, as now as of 30 years later it is still used as an unofficial song of the Dutch football team, and has had many covers. This is André Hazes' more serious original version, and this is a more dance / carnavalesque cover, and this is a version of the original Scottish song.
  • New Hampshire license plates bear the state's motto, "Live Free or Die". The license plates are made by the state's prisoners.
  • You know how people always laugh when a CEO or executive who earns 100 times more than the average guy says he's unhappy with it? The average American earns over 100 times more than someone in Nigeria, which usually comes up on surveys as the happiest country in the world.
  • Before they made video games, Nintendo made toys for the Japanese market including a series of building blocks. The blocks, Nintendo Blocks, were similar to LEGO blocks to the point where they could be fit together. LEGO tried to sue Nintendo for possible trademark infringement, but lost because Nintendo Blocks had a large number of round blocks while LEGOs were still mostly rectangular and therefore significantly different. However, Nintendo Blocks soon waned in popularity because their large number of round blocks made it difficult to build much more than what the set was intended to build. (Any kid will tell you that most of the appeal of playing with building blocks is expressing your imagination through building.) So, Nintendo Blocks won in the courtroom but lost in the marketplace for the exact same reason.
  • The Nobel Peace Prize was named after Alfred Nobel, the inventor of dynamite. Although the irony is lessened somewhat when you know the details. After Alfred's brother died, the local paper thought that Alfred himself had died and posted a scathing obituary. After seeing how he would be remembered, Alfred founded the Nobel Prize (including the one for Peace) to bring something positive to the world.
  • The ocean, a gargantuan repository of life's most necessary resource, is also completely undrinkable for creatures used to fresh water, like humans. Thus the line in the poem The Rime of the Ancient Mariner:
    Water, water, everywhere
    Nor any drop to drink.
  • The Package Shark is a device used for opening plastic clamshell packages. The device in question is sold in the very type of package it's supposed to open.
  • In 1932, Peg Entwistle, a Los Angeles actress, committed suicide by jumping from the big H of the great Hollywood sign, because nobody seemed to want her as an actress. On the same day, finally a letter from a film producer arrived, offering her a role in a movie. She would have played the role of a girl that committed suicide.
  • The Philippines are a country whose name is ironic in and of itself because the Filipino language has no F pronunciation! Yes, they can't properly pronounce their own country's name calling it the Pilippines instead of the Philippines.
  • In August 2015, Point One Marketing, an anti-nuisance-call firm, was fined £50,000 — for spamming their service using nuisance calls.
  • Pyongyang was once a veritable haven for missionaries and Christian Koreans, earning it the nickname "Jerusalem of the East". Now it's the capital of North Korea, a country positively Roman in its persecution of Christians.
  • When considering the other gender attractive, Quora noted that men and women both have unrealistic expectations of themselves, yet far more realistic expectations of each other. Women think that men want a perfectly toned and slender body, while men usually prefer women with a little bit of healthy fat/curves. Meanwhile, men think that women want a musclebound athlete's body, while women are fine with considerably less muscle. As the poster describes, "everyone's their own worst critic."
  • During the Red Scare, communists were often believed to be spreading homosexuality. The Soviet Union actually had more draconian laws against homosexuality than the U.S. did.note  In fact, while U.S. propaganda was referring to homosexuality as "communist subversion", Soviet propaganda was calling it "capitalist decadence". Homosexuality remained illegal in Russia for two years after the Soviet collapse, finally being decriminalized in 1993. The People's Republic of China similarly considered homosexuality a crime until 1997 and a mental disease until 2002. In a 1930s article, Soviet writer Maxim Gorky said, "eradicate homosexuals and fascism will disappear".
  • One of the "Reds Under the Bed" threats of the mid-20th century was this: "If the communists come to power, the women will have to go to work like the men!"
  • Sax Rohmer, author of a series of Yellow Peril novels that demonized Asians, died of Asian Flu.
  • Vlogger and former sex worker Sophie Emma Rose Anderson advocated breastfeeding kids until age 8, or at least until the kid wants to stop. She was killed in a moped crash on 8 May 2017note , leaving behind a 5 year old son, and is therefore unable to breastfeed him until age 8.
  • During the apartheid era, South Africa's national motto was "Ex Unitate Vires", which roughly translates as "Unity is Strength". Morbidly comical considering apartheid is the exact opposite of unity. When the British king visited South Africa in 1947, he too noticed this contradiction when the local authorities tried to prevent him from meeting with black people, causing him to refer to the South African police as Gestapo. When he noticed the South African national motto embroidered onto a train tablecloth, he said: "Huh? Not much bloody 'Unitate' about this place!" The motto was adopted in 1910, before apartheid was enacted but at a time when racism was heavily prevalent in South Africa (extreme racism existed in South Africa long before apartheid was established in 1948).
  • The power outage during Super Bowl XLVII was caused by the activation of a power relay when it wasn't supposed to. The purpose of the relay? To activate and relay power from another source in the event of a power outage.
  • Roman historian Tacitus records a British chieftain making a speech against Roman imperialism, best known for the line, "to plunder, to slaughter, to usurp, they give the lying name of empire; and where they make a desert, they call it peace." 1,800 years later, the British would be running the largest empire in history.
  • Shirley Temple hated the iconic drink named after hernote . She thought it was too sweet!
  • Tesco was once the subject of a book criticizing their policies. The book was sold at several places, including Tesco themselves who made a tidy profit from selling it. We Sell Everything, indeed.
  • The holiday of Thanksgiving is intended to remind people what they are thankful of... only for them to rush out and buy new things the day after: Black Friday.
  • In 1941, a Jewish-American author, Theodore N. Kaufman, wrote a screed entitled Germany Must Perish!. Yes, the book is exactly what it sounds like. The book puts forward the idea that the German people (not just the Nazis who happened to be in power at the time) are just so inherently ruthless and militaristic that even if the nation were allowed to continue after an Allied victory, the Germans would just replace the Nazi party with another brutal dictatorship and start another huge conflict at some point. His proposed solution? Completely dissolve the German nation state and forcibly sterilise the entire population. You probably couldn't find a greater source of irony if you dedicated your life to it. The Nazis used the book in a lot of their propaganda to reinforce the notion that the Jews were indeed conspiring against them.
  • Though the factual accuracies surrounding this example are debated, it is said that the astrologer Thrasyllus predicted that Caligula had "no more chance of becoming Emperor than of riding a horse across the Gulf of Baiae". As you all know, Caligula was later made emperor, and in order to add insult to injury in regards to Tharasyllius and his prediction, he ordered a temporary floating bridge to be built using ships as pontoons. And then Caligula, a man well known for his inability to swim, proceeded with riding across the Gulf of Baiae while wearing the breastplate of Alexander the Great... The irony, from Thrasyllus perspective, must've so palpable he could've put it on a slice of toast and called it cheese.
  • Dubai's largest residential skyscraper, the Torch Tower, had a fire broken out on February 21, 2015 from a grill in one of the middle balconies. Another fire broke out on August 4, 2017, which is significant, but what caused the fire is initially unknown.
  • One unwanted piece of bloatware which comes with many downloads is the Turbo Toolbar — which slows one's computer to a crawl.
  • In the 87th minute of the second leg of the 2015 UEFA Euro U-21 playoffs, while down 3-2 on aggregate, France scored against Sweden to put themselves ahead via the away goals rule. The scorer, Layvin Kurzawa, taunted his opponents with a mock salute as he celebrated his goal. Less than 2 minutes later, Sweden scored from a corner and the entire Swedish team returned the salute to the French team. Sweden ultimately won 4-3 on aggregate, and would go on to win that year's Euro U-21s, celebrating their win by saluting again.
  • The US-A satellites are a family of (Nuclear Powered!)recon satellites that were built by the Soviet Union to spy on NATO activity.
  • Walt Disney, the creator of Mickey Mouse, was afraid of mice.
  • Warner Music once sold Edwin Collins' music on iTunes despite Collins himself holding the copyright. Large media conglomerates often complain that Digital Piracy Is Evil, but in this case they were basically doing the very thing they complain against!
  • After the end of World War II, many Armored Fighting Vehicles used by Nazi Germany would end up getting captured by the Soviet Union. The Soviet Union, in turn, once they were finished evaluating them, would send them off to client states. One of the many client states that received these AFV's was Syria, who would use them in future conflicts. Many of these WW2-era German AFV's would then be destroyed, captured and sometimes used by the Jewish Israeli military.
  • As shown in the picture, a certain World War I memorial ended up being heavily damaged by bombings on May 24th of 1941, during World War II. Pushing the irony further: it's a remembrance of "The War to End All Wars" being wrecked by another, much more massive war that followed it.
  • In World War II: The Nazis had two projects that, had they been completed, would have resulted in the largest and heaviest tanks the world has ever seen. The names of the projects? Maus and Ratte, which is German for "Mouse" and "Rat", respectively, which are among the smallest of mammals.
  • A performer in the 1920s made a living by eating cigarettes, but he didn't smoke them.
  • The individual that created the word dyslexic/dyslexia, has a singularly cruel streak.
  • The infamous Zimbabwe Dollar, which thanks to rampant hyperinflation became the lowest-value currencies in the world and is in the running for the lowest-value currency in history, is now a highly sought-after collector's item among coin and currency collectors following its discontinuation, with a one hundred trillion Zimbabwe dollar note commanding as much as one hundred USD on online trading sites.
  • History of USA, Political part of it
    • Jefferson Davis is the only President of Confederate States of America, the country that was built for the purpose of keeping the slavery system in Deep South. As the most prominent leader and their symbol, you can guess he is considered racist even for his day. One of his relatives (by maternal line) managed to be elected as president from Democratic Party. He is Barrack Obama, first Black American president.
    • The two main political parties of the United States, the Democratic Party and the Republican Party, are well known for respectively being liberal and conservative to the point of extreme rivalry. The Republican Party was in fact founded as a liberal party to counter the conservative Democratic Party, yet somehow the two parties flipped ideologies as time went on (when founded, the Republicans were against slavery while the Democrats were for it; while obviously few people still support slavery today, its apologists are mostly Republicans).
    • Major General William T. Sherman became infamous for "Sherman's March to the Sea", a Salt the Earth campaign against any target of worth to the Confederates, which included burning huge tracts of plantation and farm land. Seventy-eight years later, tanks named after him would be deployed to the North African desert, where it was learned they had design flaws that caused them to catch on fire when hit.
    • The 1948 U.S. presidential election goes down like this: Republican candidate Thomas E. Dewey seemed certain to win, so his advisers urged him not to say or do anything which could screw up his campaign. He quickly became infamous for speeches that were composed of little more than platitudesnote . Put that together with incumbent Harry Truman's brutal campaign mockery of Dewey and the Republicans at every turn, and we get one of the biggest political upsets in US electoral history.
    • Republican politicians tried to stop Alaska from being admitted as a state because they thought it would wind up being a mainly pro-Democratic state, as opposed to Hawaii, which was thought to be mainly pro-Republican. As it happens, they both wound up being admitted in 1959, meaning the first presidential election they would participate in would be the 1960 one. Results? Alaska goes Republican, Hawaii goes Democratic. It's been that way ever since (except for the LBJ landslide of 1964, when Alaska voted Democratic, and the Republican landslides of '72 and '84, when Hawaii voted Republican.)
    • The American Revolution was greatly assisted by the government of France, who spent a great deal of money in assisting the would-be Americans in gaining their independence. A few years later, that same government would be overthrown violently during The French Revolution, a revolution that was partly inspired by and partially modeled itself on the ideals of the American Revolution and spurred on by the economic instability of the time, partially caused by the cost of assisting the American revolutionaries.
      • For all the talk about the The American Revolution being fought and won by an oppressed group of people for the sake of freedom and democracy, universal citizen white male suffrage was not legalized until 1856, until then, only citizen white males who owned land could vote. Women would not be able to vote until the 19th amendment was ratified in 1920. The trans-Atlantic slave trade would not be abolished until 1810, slavery not made illegal until the ratification of the 13th amendment following the end of the Civil War. Poll taxes and "literacy tests" ensured that African Americans could not fairly participate in elections until the Voting Rights Act of 1965 was made into law.
    • U.S. president Andrew Jackson hated paper money and tried to abolish it. He later appeared on the twenty-dollar bill until 2016 when he was replaced by Harriet Tubman. For added irony, Jackson owned slaves, while Tubman not only was a former slave herself, but led many former slaves to freedom via the Underground Railroad!
    • The City of Brotherly Love, where they boo Santa Claus, commit assault with batteries on opposing baseball players, boo Santa Claus, require a prison to be built into their football stadium, and has it been mentioned they booed Santa Claus? The irony is that this nickname isn't sarcastic; it's the literal meaning of the word "Philadelphia". The fact that this does not describe the city in the least means that its invocation will inevitably be verbal irony. The fact that the city was founded by a pacifist Quaker also makes it a historical irony. He had high hopes for them, hence the name he chose.
    • The Civil Rights Movement got kicked off in part by an irony that borders on hypocrisy. During WWI and WWII thousands of African Americans volunteered or were drafted to fight overseas against tyranny and oppression for the sake of freedom and democracy, and did so on the hope that they would come home to a heroes' welcome and would be repaid with equal rights. In the case of the former, they were welcomed by angry white mobs who were scared that the demobilized African Americans would use their army training to stand up and fight against their oppressors. In the case of the latter they came back to face the same segregationist country that they had left top fight for, and still denied them equal political rights. This irony was actually weaponized in enemy propaganda. For instance, this propaganda leaflet distributed by the Germans during World War 2 shows white draft dodgers having a party while black soldiers die in the war ( the Germans also made propaganda targeting white troops by attempting to appeal to racist beliefs, such as insinuating that black men were abusing white women while they were at war). The North Vietnamese used similar tactics during The Vietnam War, broadcasting radio messages and spreading leaflets, such as this one asking why black soldiers are being sent to fight for the freedom of a foreign country while they were being oppressed at home.
    • At one point a group was going to present James Earl Jones with a plaque that contained stamps from a Martin Luther King commemorative series. The original version of the plaque was misinscribed and read: "Thank you, James Earl Ray, for keeping the dream alive." For those who don't get it, James Earl Ray was King's assassin.
    • Kim Davis was the county clerk for Rowan County, Kentucky. In 2015, she made national headlines when she refused to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples on religious grounds (even going to jail for it). Not surprisingly, this attracted the attention of the Westboro Baptist Church, an organization known for extremely anti-gay views. They did show up to protest...Davis for being on her fourth marriage.
    • Martin Luther King Jr., the most famous person from the Civil Rights Movement, was heavily inspired by Mahatma Gandhi, despite the fact that Gandhi wrote explicitly racist anti-black tracts during his early South African days (he got better).
    • The state of Massachusetts gets in a multi-whammy for historical irony. It was founded by a group of Protestant fundamentalists, the Puritans, who felt that the Reformation in England didn't go far enough in purging the new Anglican Church of "heretical" Catholic traditions, and wished to fully purify it (hence the name) of such. Once they arrived in America, they set up the Massachusetts Bay Colony, a theocratic state that was highly restrictive in its morality and interpretation of Scripture, to the point where dissidents founded two other colonies (Connecticut and Rhode Island) in order to have religious freedom.
      • Irony #1: Today, the state of Massachusetts is one of the most Catholic states in America. As a further sub-irony, this is thanks in no small part to The Irish Diaspora; the English Puritans thoroughly disdained the Irish, to the point where the bleeding-heart liberals of the day advocated replacing Irish indentured servants with African slaves on the grounds that African slaves wouldn't inspire as much hatred and contempt in their masters as Irish servants, which is a whole truckload of irony in its own right nowadays.
      • Irony #2: Modern Massachusetts is also heavily associated with secularism and social liberalism (it was the first state in the country to legalize same-sex marriage), to the point where conservative Moral Guardians have been known to use the phrase "Massachusetts values" in order to describe anything that they don't like.
      • Irony #3: The largest religious body claiming descent from the Puritan congregational churches, the United Church of Christ, is one of the most liberal denominations in the United States, having been the first in the country to come out in support of same-sex marriage rights. Relatedly, and probably even more infuriating to the Puritans, is how one of the other major denominations to arise from their churches was Unitarianism—a shift that began in the late 18th century and today has led to the phenomenon of Unitarian Universalism (so far to the left of the United Church of Christ that they don't even consider themselves Christians or require a belief in God).
    • In December 2011, Texas governor Rick Perry was vying for the Republican presidential nomination in 2012 when he released an ad called "Strong," in which he said "there's something wrong in this country when gays can serve openly in the military, but our kids can't openly celebrate Christmas or pray in school", all while dressed very similarly to Heath Ledger in Brokeback Mountain.
    • After her victory in the landmark decision Roe v Wade, Norma McCorvey, better known as Jane Roe, later became Roman Catholic and pro-life.
    • In 1800, Parson Weems wrote a highly fictionalized "biography" of George Washington in order to teach proper moral character. This book is the source of the famous cherry tree legend, which is intended to teach the value of honesty. Apparently, Weems never learned that lesson himself.
    • The song "Dixie" was a favorite of Abraham Lincoln. It was played during his presidential campaign and his inauguration.
    • In Lincoln's Gettysburg Address, he said, "The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here." He said this, of course, in what later became one of the most famous speeches in history.
    • Denmark was ranked as the happiest place on Earth. It owns Greenland, which was ranked as the most suicidal place on Earth. It also fought more wars with the same country (Sweden) than anyone else in history, although they've obviously lightened up.
    • A joke goes that people have to go to the back of the store to get prescription meds, whereas anyone can get cigarettes up front.

References to and spoofs of using "ironic" incorrectly:

    Live-Action TV 
  • Castle:
    • People misusing this trope appears to be something of a minor Berserk Button for Richard (not entirely surprisingly, seeing as he's a novelist).
      Castle: Whoever killed her also murdered the English language.
    • In one episode, they are interviewing a patient of the victim (a shrink) who is commenting on how ironic it is that she is now dead and is not available to help him. Castle points out that this isn't ironic, it would be ironic if her death made him feel better, it is actually just sad.
  • The Golden Girls lampshades this with Sophia's brother Angelo (a Sicilian immigrant) when he was talking about reviving a comedy routine he did with a partner who wasn't there.
    Angelo: He was killed quite ironically in a banana packing plant.
    Blanche: How is that ironical?
    Angelo: I'm sorry, I made a mistake in my English. It was quite comical.
  • Just Shoot Me!:
    • In one episode, there's this dialogue:
      Nina: You know what's ironic? The same day I ran Elliot down, is the same day I ruined his life forever.
      Maya: That's not ironic, that's what happened!
      Nina: So true.
    • And later:
      Elliot: It's ironic, but you running me over that night may have been the best thing that ever happened to me.
      Nina: Elliot, that's not ironic, that's what happened.
  • Once on Roseanne when Dan informs his daughter's boyfriend that the joke he made was not irony.
    Dan: That wasn't irony, it was sarcasm. But it was ironic that you didn't know the difference.
  • 30 Rock did this when Liz's handsome boyfriend (an idiot doctor played by Jon Hamm) got to live outside "the bubble" which allows attractive people to think whatever they do is right:
    Drew: I didn't like it outside the bubble. It was very ironic.
    Liz: No, it wasn't — that's not how you use that word.
    Drew: Stop it. I want to use "ironic" however I want. I want to stay in the bubble.

  • In the song "Word Crimes", "Weird Al" Yankovic makes a point out of stressing that "Irony is not coincidence", and the accompanying video lends an example to this lyric: Irony is a fire truck on fire, rain at a wedding (an allusion to the Alanis Morissette song) is really just the weather.

    Web Comics 
  • Com'c: In #38, "Ironically", Victor thinks it's ironic that "ironic" is one of the most misused words in the language. Ironically, that's not ironic at all, which means he's misusing it himself.
  • In Doc Rat, a patient got burnt. The label said that the heated contents would be hot, but he thought it was ironic.
  • Homestuck:
    • The Striders often claim that many things are 'ironic', when really they are just committedly sarcastic. Their exact definitions vary though (interestingly, since they both claim to be influenced by the other), in that Dave's interpretation seems to involve doing stuff that he doesn't enjoy which makes it ironic because he knows it's not cool, while Dirk's seems to involve doing things which are generally considered uncool but which he actually enjoys. In fact, characters having wildly differing (usually inaccurate) understandings of irony could almost be considered a running gag. One example from Andrew Hussie's Author Avatar himself occurs here:
      How ironic, that your very demise would be in the proximity of some horses. What? You didn't follow that? Just think it over. Think it over...
    • And another from uu:
      TT: How is that ironic?
  • Irregular Webcomic!: David Morgan-Mar called for a descriptivist re-evaluation of the word "irony" and an end to nitpicking over it in the annotation for this strip.
  • This strip by The Oatmeal, in addition to listing the 3 most common examples, pokes fun at the arguments over the uses of the word over the internet.
  • Terror Island strip #78 has Sid complaining about things that aren't ironic.

    Web Original 
  • In Dilbert Newsletter #49 Scott Adams discusses how people seem to think that "irony" means "unlikely, and bad."
  • Comedic site The Oatmeal has an interesting take on what the most common source of irony is.
  • This is discussed at length in season two of Red vs. Blue, when both the Red and Blue teams are forced by circumstance to team up to defeat a bigger enemy.
    Grif: So now we're forced to work together. How ironic.
    Simmons: No, that's not ironic. Ironic would be if we had to work together to hurt each other.
    Donut: No. Ironic would be instead of that guy kidnapping Lopez, Lopez kidnapped him.
    Sarge: I think it would be ironic if our guns didn't shoot bullets, but instead squirted a healing salve that cured all wounds.
    Caboose: I think it would be ironic if everyone was made of iron.
    *time skip*
    Church: Okay. We all agree that while the current situation is not totally ironic, the fact that we have to work together is odd in an unexpected way that defies our normal circumstances. Is everyone happy with that?
  • On April Fools 2012, Irony was nominated for deletion on Wikipedia "by sheer coincidence", after which Coincidence was nominated for deletion, "ironically"

    Western Animation 
  • In the Futurama episode "The Devil's Hands are Idle Playthings", the Robot Devil throughout the episode describes the results of his schemes as ironic, to which Bender kept correcting him: "It's not ironic; it's just coincidental!" or "It's not ironic; it's just mean!" Only at the episode's musical ending did Bender note that the Robot Devil finally executed the dictionary meaning of the word: "The use of words expressing something other than their literal intention! Now THAT... IS... irony!"note 
  • In Jimmy Two-Shoes, Beezy exclaims that something is ironic. He then pauses and wonders if he actually knows what irony is. Later in the episode, he's still wondering if he got it right.
  • In Skylanders Academy, while Kaos gives Spyro a beat down with the book that Spyro is trying to recover, he remarks on the irony of the situation, hesitates and asks Glumshanks if that does in fact count as irony or not.
    Glumshanks: I try to avoid that word sir, on account of the fact that nobody knows what it means.

    Real Life 
  • People with Asperger Syndrome are sometimes accused of having no sense of humour, but in fact irony is the type of humour they are most likely to use - which is ironic because the target of their marvellous sense of humour won't actually get the joke, because that's irony for you, so they think it's not actually funny...
  • These posts.

Alternative Title(s): Verbal Irony, Ironic