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How to pronounce oxymoron (audio)


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Dictionary definition of oxymoron

A figure of speech in which two opposite or contradictory words are used together in the same phrase.
"She found the oxymoron of 'silent scream' to be powerful in the poetry."


Detailed meaning of oxymoron

An oxymoron is a figure of speech that combines two seemingly contradictory words or phrases to create a new meaning. For example, "jumbo shrimp" or "deafening silence" are oxymorons. The use of oxymorons creates a rhetorical effect by emphasizing the contrast between the two words and drawing attention to their inherent contradiction. It can also be used to create irony, satire, or to express complexity of thought or feeling. Oxymorons can be found in poetry, literature, and everyday language, and are often used for their ability to convey a sense of paradox or incongruity. Some common examples of oxymorons are "sweet sorrow," "bitter sweet," "hot ice." Oxymoron is a very good tool to express one's feelings, thoughts or ideas in a very creative, vivid and interesting way.

Example sentences containing oxymoron

1. The phrase "military intelligence" is often considered an oxymoron.
2. He described the government's action as an "oxymoron of democracy"
3. She was confused by the oxymoron of "virtual reality".
4. The idea of "friendly fire" is an oxymoron
5. He pointed out the oxymoron of "working vacation".
6. The term "organized chaos" is an oxymoron.
7. He found the oxymoron of "honest politician" to be hard to believe.
8. She was struck by the oxymoron of "terrible beauty" in the painting.

History and etymology of oxymoron

The noun 'oxymoron' has its roots in ancient Greek, combining 'oxys,' which means 'sharp' or 'keen,' with 'moros,' meaning 'foolish' or 'dull.' Therefore, 'oxymoron' essentially translates to 'sharp-dull' or 'keen-foolish.' The etymology of 'oxymoron' reflects the essence of this figure of speech—a combination of two opposite or contradictory words used together in the same phrase to create a thought-provoking contrast. 'Oxymoron' exemplifies the art of linguistic contradiction, where the juxtaposition of opposing terms enhances the impact and depth of expression, often leading to insights or reflections that challenge conventional thinking.

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Further usage examples of oxymoron

1. The phrase "living dead" is an oxymoron.
2. He found the oxymoron of "planned spontaneity" to be a difficult concept to grasp.
3. "Jumbo shrimp" is an oxymoron as the terms "jumbo" and "shrimp" have opposite meanings.
4. "Bittersweet" is a poignant oxymoron, blending joy and sorrow.
5. An "open secret" can be a perplexing oxymoron in social dynamics.
6. The "deafening silence" in the room was a chilling oxymoron.
7. In literature, "living dead" serves as a haunting oxymoron.
8. The "jumbo shrimp" dish on the menu is a playful culinary oxymoron.
9. Encouraging someone to "act naturally" can be an ironic oxymoron.
10. The term "civil war" appears to be an oxymoron in peaceful times.
11. Describing someone as "clearly confused" is a humorous oxymoron.
12. The paradox of "alone together" captures the essence of modern life.
13. An "original copy" is a paradoxical oxymoron in the realm of art.
14. The painting's beauty was "painfully beautiful," a poignant oxymoron.
15. "Virtual reality" is an intriguing linguistic oxymoron of the digital age.
16. Sorting items into a "random order" seems like a logical oxymoron.
17. "Small crowd" is an example of a spatial oxymoron in event planning.
18. "Passive-aggressive" behavior often manifests as an oxymoron in relationships.
19. Explaining that there's "no harm, no foul" involves an oxymoron.
20. Over time, the "same difference" can become a recognized oxymoron.
21. As glaciers melt, "growing smaller" becomes a concerning oxymoron.
22. "Found missing" is an enigmatic oxymoron often used in search efforts.
23. The poet described the glacier's beauty as "burning ice," a vivid oxymoron.



contradiction, consistency, harmony, agreement


Critical and Analytical, Interaction and Articulation, Complexity and Intricacy, Imagination and Ingenuity, Words and Language, Language and Expression 1

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