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The use of a word or phrase in a sense contrary to its normal meaning for ironic or humorous effect, as in a mere babe of 40 years.

[Late Latin, from Greek, from antiphrazein, to express by the opposite : anti-, anti- + phrazein, to speak; see phrase.]


(Rhetoric) rhetoric the use of a word in a sense opposite to its normal one, esp for ironic effect
[C16: via Late Latin from Greek, from anti- + phrasis, from phrazein to speak]


(ænˈtɪf rə sɪs)

the use of a word in a sense opposite to its proper meaning, esp. for ironic effect.
[1525–35; < Latin < Greek, derivative of antiphrázein to speak the opposite]
an•ti•phras•tic (ˌæn tɪˈfræs tɪk) adj.
an`ti•phras′ti•cal•ly, adv.


the satirical or humorous use of a word or phrase to convey an idea exactly opposite to its real significance, as Shakespeare’s “honorable men” for Caesar’s murderers. — antiphrastic, adj.
See also: Literature
the use of a word in a sense opposite to its proper meaning. — antiphrastic, antiphrastical, adj.
See also: Rhetoric and Rhetorical Devices


The use of a word to mean the opposite of its usual meaning, especially for ironic effect.
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.antiphrasis - the use of a word in a sense opposite to its normal sense (especially in irony)
rhetorical device - a use of language that creates a literary effect (but often without regard for literal significance)
irony - a trope that involves incongruity between what is expected and what occurs
References in periodicals archive ?
(10) Similarity-based tropes abound, whereas Norman Knox limits the difference-based ones to irony, sarcasm, antiphrasis, asteismus, micterismus, and charientismus (36).
(29) This uniting of opposite concepts works not only typologically but linguistically in the movements of rhetorical tropes, for as Augustine argues in Contra Mendacium, the contrary images of metaphor or antiphrasis can produce aesthetic and epistemological closure, revealing truth through an apparent lie.
Baron distinguishes between films that offer 'antiphrasis irony', "in which the unsaid is the exact opposite of what is said," from those that present 'inclusive irony': "a polysemic form of irony in which multiple meanings are held in tension with one another indefinitely" (37).
The mechanism by which utopian sub-genres are generated is inversion, with all its philosophical and rhetorical variations: opposition, contrast, paradox, antinomy, antithesis, antiphrasis, oxymoron, etc.
(7) In Irony's Edge, Linda Hutcheon explains that reducing verbal irony to its opposite meaning, or antiphrasis, not only excludes certain kinds of verbal irony such as hyperbole, but also contains some ambiguity about what part of the statement ought to inverted (60-61).
The confessional writer often jams the unity of his work with the pledge of overruling the self-conscious transcription of his life, by overdetermining its parts, hence, its characteristic ambiguity, splitting, antiphrasis and interference.
The language of consumerism is used to satirise the body of consumerism through antiphrasis. Inconsistent elements made into these works cause visual and mental discomfort to fragment the situation of seeing and being seen and to reach an anti-see and anti-consume goal so as to strongly resist the prevailing trends of the making body full of desires in the material society.
"My favourite car back in the garage in the UK is the complete antiphrasis of a McLaren, and that's a Morgan.
With all my love, Phil." One finds in this dedication his usual self-deprecation and lack of self-seriousness, but there is also, by antiphrasis, the recognition of the virtual unsalability of academic writing.
This denial is not so obvious in the Spanish corpus, in which the antiphrasis death-life appears in MORIR ES VIVIR EN EL RECUERDO ('to die is to live in memory'), a metaphor that lacks the explicitly positive overtones of DEATH IS A JOYFUL LIFE.
Antiphrasis, as it is technically called, is the use of an expression to mean the opposite of its usual sense, for instance saying that's wonderful when one really thinks something is terrible.
The antiphrasis, then, is not only the irony of the name Mignonne, but it is the antiphrastic reversal of his own perception as well: he sees not the panther before him, passive and sated from a recent meal, but rather the dangerous knife-wielding Mignonne, the lover from his past who reflects his own violence.