Ironical – Usage, Meaning & Examples in a Sentence

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Candace Osmond

Candace Osmond studied Advanced Writing & Editing Essentials at MHC. She’s been an International and USA TODAY Bestselling Author for over a decade. And she’s worked as an Editor for several mid-sized publications. Candace has a keen eye for content editing and a high degree of expertise in Fiction.

Are you supposed to use the word ironic or ironical to describe something seeped in irony? Is ironical even a real word in the English language? I’ve got some good answers to these burning questions, and I break it all down in the simplest of ways right here in this guide.

What Is the Meaning of Ironical?

Ironical Usage Meaning Examples in a Sentence

The word ironical is an adjective we use to describe something as being generally ironic in nature. When it comes down to it, the word simply means that something is defined by irony or contrary to what was expected.

It brings to mind other terms like metaphoric vs. metaphorical, economic vs. economical, etc. All are valid terms and pretty much mean the same thing as their alternate. Adding the suffix “-al” doesn’t really change their intent at all.

Is Ironical a Word?

Well, technically speaking, yes, it is. But it’s not as commonly used as its more streamlined and modern version “ironic.” Also, some grammar experts even argue that “ironical” is an unnecessary variation of the word “ironic.” But the English language is always changing, so who am I to judge?

Ironic vs. Ironical: What’s the Difference?

Well, the two words are obviously very similar in spelling, and their meaning is pretty much identical. Ironical was once widely used to describe something that was ironic in nature. But now, ironic is the preferred term around the world. You can see here in this Ngram how “ironical” began as a popular term but has since fallen under the use of the word ironic.

Ironic vs Ironical Ngram
Ironic and ironical usage trend.

Synonyms for Ironical

There are plenty of other ways of saying ironical, or even ironic. Try any of these terms for size:

  • Satirical
  • Sardonic
  • Mocking
  • Sarcastic
  • Tongue-in-cheek
  • Paradoxical
  • Contemptuous
  • Cynical
  • Derisive

Examples of ‘Ironical’ in a Sentence

Ironical Usage Meaning Examples in a Sentence 1
  • Oh, how ironical that the traffic cop got a ticket for speeding while off duty.
  • Don’t you think it’s rather ironical that the company’s environmental efforts have resulted in even more pollution than before?
  • The situation with our neighbor’s window was so ironical since we had the same issue last year.
  • My mother says it’s ironical that I ended up with a daughter just like I was when I was a kid.
  • It’s ironical that my husband can’t focus enough to read his book on how to conquer ADHD.
  • My English teacher said I could use either ironic or ironical in my essay because he accepts both forms of the term.
  • I think it’s super ironical that my best friend became a teacher, but she claims to not be a “kid person.”

Obviously the show is well regarded and it is in a prestigious gallery, but it is meaningful only to those prepared to play the game of ironical banality. [New Zealand Herald]

Isn’t It Ironic?

So that’s a wrap on this funny term. Just remember that you can use both ironic and ironical interchangeably in most situations. Both are actual words in the English language, although ironic has surpassed ironical in popularity over the years.

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