Good Diction and You

i-ro-ny n. pl. i-ro-nies

a. The use of words to express something different from and often opposite to their literal meaning.

b. An expression or utterance marked by a deliberate contrast between apparent and intended meaning.

c. A literary style employing such contrasts for humorous or rhetorical effect.

a. Incongruity between what might be expected and what actually occurs: “Hyde noted the irony of Ireland’s copying the nation she most hated” (Richard Kain).

b. An occurrence, result, or circumstance notable for such incongruity. See Usage Note at ironic.
3. Dramatic irony.
4. Socratic irony.

How many people know how to use the word irony in its proper definition? Not a whole lot, as I’m coming to discover. The term irony appears to be applied toward a great many anecdotes or circumstances that have no sense of irony to them whatsoever. It gives a person a lot of pause in thinking about the sociological redefinition about a lot of words. Let’s take feminism for example:

fem-i-nism n.
1. Belief in the social, political, and economic equality of the sexes.
2. The movement organized around this belief.

When people ask me if I’m a feminist, I answer yes. I usually get strange looks, but not because of the fact that I believe in equality, but because they have redefined this word to mean that I believe females are superior to males. Has public misconception of diction truly progressed to a point where words become redefined to a point of misunderstanding? I blame Rush Limbaugh and his femi-nazi term; it seems to have crossed over into the social consciousness of what the word means. Feminists are simply those who want equal rights, not those who’re leather-wearing motorcycle bull dykes who think all men are not worth scraping off the bottom of their steel-toed boot.

I wish people would learn vocabulary before using words they don’t truly understand.

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