"Saying Donald Trump is orange is ironic, because he's not orange."

Is the above sentence correct?

Is ironic the opposite of literal? I doubt it's the case.

2 Answers 2


No, saying Trump is orange is not irony. It is sarcastic, denigrating, and hyperbolic. Most figures of speech are not literally true; you cannot determine what kind of figure of speech is being employed by determining whether it is literally true.

Irony is saying one thing but implying, more or less subtly, something quite contrary. Responding "Well, that's wonderful news" when your doctor tells you that you have brain cancer is a crude but common form of irony.

When people say that Trump is orange, they are not trying to make you focus on how non-orange he is. Instead, they are asking you to focus on how un-masculine it is to try hiding your age by dyeing your hair and how ridiculous it is to dye your hair such a non-human shade. They are implying that not only is he a fake tough guy, but also that he can fake only the rubes (and perhaps himself). It is a put-down of the deplorables (and perhaps of the great deplored himself).


The sentence above is not ironic. The concept of situational irony is subtle, almost by definition. The way it's usually used, a statement is only ironic if, upon reflection, it is amusing or interesting in an unexpected way.

There are several types of irony. I'll let the oatmeal discuss it:

oatmeal discussing irony

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