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Rhetoric an epigrammatic effect, by which contradictory terms are used in conjunction
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



a stylistic device combining contradictory words to form a new semantic entity, for example, “sorrowful joy” (S. A. Esenin). The oxymoron makes literary language more meaningful and intensifies its emotional impact by disclosing the unity of opposites and of life’s seeming contradictions [examples of oxymoron in italics]:

See how she’s rejoiced in sorrow,

So elegantly bared.


We love everything—the ardor of cold numbers,

And the gift of divine visions.


The oxymoron can be a type of literary paradox.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
Since inception, The Oxymoron of Kenny Blaq has proven to be one of the best events in Nigeria receiving the best comedy show of the year at Naija FM Comedy Awards in 2017 and 2018 respectively while Kenny Blaq also shone at the Future Awards 2017, winning the Future Awards Prize for Comedy and comedian of the year at the Lagos Achievers Awards 2019.
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The term "conscious sedation", which is much beloved by gastroenterologists and others, is to me an irritating tautology because its converse, "unconscious sedation", is obviously an oxymoron.
Nine chapters cover such things as omissions (unfinished thoughts, omitted nouns and verbs, swearing), substitutions (malapropism, nicknames, exaggerations, euphemism), transformations (reverse order, repeated structures), reverberations (divided couplets, repetitions), order (similes, metaphor, personification), words (prefixes, suffixes, compound words), additions (abuse, curses, superfluous words), repetitions (repeated consonants, vowels, syllables), and disorder (paradox, puns, oxymoron).
Er, excuse me, but that's an oxymoron, as indeed is Beckham.
and CNN conspired to create a fictional class of Christians, the so-called liberal evangelicals, but that's an oxymoron."
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