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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 ?
Being a proud red-blooded American liberal just seems so, well, oxymoronic to me.
The notion of politicians as public servants is bordering on the oxymoronic.
Because over the past 15 years an oxymoronic race-planning department has dismantled two-yearold racing and has mesmerised trainers with the handicap opportunities for lower-rated horses which replaced it.
Contrary to their oxymoronic state title of the ''Democratic People's Republic of Korea,'' the reclusive regime has neither been a democracy nor a republic, not at least in the meaning the rest of the world uses these words.
The idea of vegan soul food might sound oxymoronic at first, or maybe even just plain moronic.
Yet journalist-as-public-diplomacy-czar is not an oxymoronic concept.
And it was possible to possess the oxymoronic position of defending the constitutional rights of someone with whom I disagreed intently.
Mention the oxymoronic vegetable biriyani at your own peril, it's usually cause enough for a lynching.
Since then, this oxymoronic idea has been accepted by hospitals and by the medical profession throughout the world.
It appears to have been designed by IT consultants to downgrade all the other skills of management, and indeed all other organisational competencies, into an oxymoronic, second-tier box.
In Belgium, the emphasis is entirely on integration and not the British oxymoronic policy of multiculturalism, which has done so much harm.
As the courts have found, "intelligent design" is just an alias for the oxymoronic creation science.