One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A figure of speech in which apparently contradictory terms appear in conjunction (e.g. faith unfaithful kept him falsely true).
contradiction, contradiction in terms, self-contradiction, inconsistency, incongruity, anomaly, conflictView synonyms
- ‘Is there a safe gun or is that an oxymoron like a safe cigarette?’
- ‘The prose poem is a hybrid form, an anomaly if not a paradox or oxymoron.’
- ‘By contrast, the very idea of false knowledge is an oxymoron.’
- ‘I have no desire to drive those two oxymorons, ‘classic rock’ and ‘young country,’ from the air.’
- ‘Your Honour secondly asked about the phrase, the apparent oxymoron of non-exclusive possession acts.’
- ‘If these terms sound like oxymorons, that's because they are.’
- ‘One day I sat her down to explain to her the word oxymoron and then to describe a magnificent and bucolic world of insults.’
- ‘Yes, but it does leave a reader ever more certain that the term ‘mature male’ is an oxymoron.’
- ‘A medley of oxymorons, contradictions, and double-standards.’
- ‘The idea of a light of darkness is certainly an oxymoron, certainly a contradiction in terms, and yet we find that among various mystics.’
- ‘In the annals of oxymorons, this has to be among the most oxymoronic.’
- ‘But several are exclusively concerned with the funeral trade, its absurd oxymorons - ‘the future of death’ - and its expansion into a global industry.’
- ‘An oxymoron is a combination of contradictory or incongruous words such as ‘gentle violence’.’
- ‘He is a man who, when he was pillaging for the Federal government, reduced the term Public Service to an oxymoron.’
- ‘What he has written is contemporary history, if the term is not altogether an oxymoron.’
- ‘Prisoners of hope are living, breathing oxymorons.’
- ‘The term native-English speaker itself can be an oxymoron sometimes.’
- ‘Another triumph for military intelligence, the finest of all oxymorons.’
- ‘Speech was a required elective (which is, in the eyes of the high school student, one of the most contradictory oxymorons to be commonly spoken in the English language).’
- ‘I mean, this is an oxymoron, there's nothing free about the speech today.’
Mid 17th century: from Greek oxumōron, neuter (used as a noun) of oxumōros ‘pointedly foolish’, from oxus ‘sharp’ + mōros ‘foolish’.
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