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IRONY, rhetoric. A term derived from the Greek, which signifies dissimulation. It is a refined species of ridicule, which, under the mask of honest simplicity or ignorance, exposes the faults and errors of others, by seeming to adopt or defend them.
     2. In libels, irony may convey imputations more effectually than direct assertion, and render the publication libelous. Hob. 215; Hawk. B. 1, c. 73, s. 4; 3 Chit. Cr. Law, 869, Bac. Ab. Libel, A 3.

A Law Dictionary, Adapted to the Constitution and Laws of the United States. By John Bouvier. Published 1856.
References in periodicals archive ?
His filmic discourse, however, with the aid of visual and auditory devices, skillfully reinforces the story's central dramatic irony that, contrary to appearances, Farquhar has in actual fact not moved from the bridge.
The first step in understanding this picture of Finkel's book is to understand his use of dramatic irony and the figure of the naive hero, elements which begin to emerge even in the book's first pages.
In the last act, Hitchcock uses dramatic irony to heighten the suspense.
Hawthorne's storyteller brings comedy to the stage and to the stories he tells through mirroring effects, situational and dramatic irony, and vivid if sometimes exaggerated contrasts.
(In dramatic irony, the audience is typically in on the plot from the beginning, but there is still the play between surface and depth meanings; drama works by virtue of the imaginative distance that allows the audience to play the game.) This makes irony something of a high-risk strategy; the question then is why anyone would resort to it.
The first part of the narrative is charged with dramatic irony, as even a young reader will know that Billy's dreams of a better, safer future will end in a catastrophe.
There is no dramatic irony in this poem, because, aside from the question of whether the speaker is legally insane, there is no issue the slave is unaware of or incompetent to judge and therefore no way for the reader's point of view to be substantially different from hers.
A final idea explored through a workshop was that of dramatic irony. Much of the fun of The False Turk comes from the audience knowing exactly what is going on when Arlecchio dresses Flavio up as a Turk (with Arlecchino himself as the Turk's serving man) and anticipating Pantelone's ire when he realises he has been duped.
Yes, we have the dramatic irony of a man who is brilliant at work but hopeless at home (I bet this paves the way for an unlikely liaison with Bremner).
His methodology relies primarily on traditional textual analysis, along with a liberal dose of literary anthropology and cultural history, and his arguments are ultimately text-based, dealing with matters of semantics, syntax, structure, translation, and dramatic irony. But at times he offers up Foucault (most often as a foil) and Bakhtin, along with a few other postmodern theorists, to bolster his interpretation.
And, talk about dramatic irony, one of Marcos' first boyfriends was Ninoy Aquino, the man her husband, Ferdinand Marcos, later had assassinated for challenging his rule.
Zemach and Balter assert that dramatic irony is a modification of situational irony (it interprets the real situation via a possible counterpart).