“A couple weeks ago he posted this thing saying he really loved the Dexter series finale, but it was weird—he kept calling the episode ‘great’ while detailing all of its flaws,” said reader Ryan Zalch, explaining his initial puzzlement with Edo’s sarcasm. “Then suddenly it hit me: This guy didn’t actually like the show at all. Somehow, he was writing the literal opposite of what he meant, going way over-the-top with what seemed like praise to express his hatred.”
The purest meaning of irony that I know of is “having a meaning other than the one being said directly”. Let’s take a few examples:
Oh, yeah, that looks great on you.
It didn’t. It looked like crap.
[In a movie] I’m going to be with you for the rest of my life… [But you know from some other means that he is about to die]
There is one type—situational irony—where this doesn’t seem to be the case. In situational irony, there’s just a strange conflict between the situation and the outcome. My favorite example is that when Reagan was shot all the bullets missed him, but one bounced off the bullet-proof limo and hit him in the chest. The irony being that the thing there to protect him from bullets caused him to get hit by one.
Anyway. Onion. Top notch.