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Rhetoric an epigrammatic effect, by which contradictory terms are used in conjunction



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.

References in periodicals archive ?
Besides, when music is this good, there is no need to classify it as any kind of revival because The Paddingtons stand alone in a crowd, or is that just another oxymoron
Lerner and others writing on this topic make it clear that "environmental justice" is an oxymoron.
She refused to believe that being a successful nurse in Sudbury was an oxymoron.
The depths of Pop" may seem an oxymoron, but the paradox is fully embodied in the art of the movement's chief protagonist.
For proponents of the "bigger is safer" school of automotive thought the description "safe, small car" is an oxymoron.
Many people might think that a Republican teenager is an oxymoron, but for me it was the only proper fit.
Thanks for reminding us that the phrase LGBT community is a fucking oxymoron.
In reality, firearms safety is probably an oxymoron when one discusses those everyday events called life.
Rugs made of wood may sound like an oxymoron, but Natural Carpet Co.
Energy savings"--the term seems almost to be an oxymoron in today's tumultuous, impossible-to-comprehend energy marketplace.