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colin's avatar

What is the difference between "ironic" and "ironical"?

Asked by colin (574points) November 11th, 2006
Sometimes people say "How ironical." Are they just being pretentious, or does this convey something different than saying "how ironic"?
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10 Answers

nomtastic's avatar
i think the difference is that ironical is not a word.
colin's avatar
i believe that ironical is a high-school english teacher used it extensively.
andrew's avatar
They are both ligitimate words, and are interchangeable.
andrew's avatar
andrew's avatar
Though if they say "ironical", I'm guessing that they have a bit of the pretentiousness going on.
Ormolov's avatar
Andrew is correct on this one. The OED lists both, with similar definitions (of or pertaining to irony, of course) but 'ironical' is an overworked version of the word which says more about loving the sound of your own voice than giving a clear idea of what you mean.
JJ's avatar
the difference in common usage is that ironical particularly pertains to speech and tone not situations as often
stephan's avatar
'ironical', and many nouns accepting the -ical adjectival suffix lost to the more popular -ic endings in early modern english. your english teacher is either a bit too nostalgic or has watched waiting for guffman too many times.
bob's avatar
Brian Garner's Modern American Usage says: Ironic is standard. Ironical is a needless variant that used to be the preferred form; it is still often seen in British English.
GD_Kimble's avatar
"Ironical" is really a word? I owe an apology to many people I mocked.. however, many of them say "Volumptuous", and "libary" so it's a wash.

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