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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 ?
The book also offers critical insight into Isabella's similarly oxymoronic "chaste volition" in Measure for Measure, arguing not only that "married chastity is an act of faith manufactured through an act of will," but that consent is less a one-time capitulation than an "ongoing volitional act" (157, 167).
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.
The fragility of the blanket conjures an oxymoronic image, consistent with the current state of global unemployment, homelessness and financial insecurity.
Yet journalist-as-public-diplomacy-czar is not an oxymoronic concept.
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.
As the courts have found, "intelligent design" is just an alias for the oxymoronic creation science.
Similarly, given that all these portraits speak of death (that of the unique image), Jason Mecier's Andy Warhol (2007)--a collage of everyday objects delineating Warhol's face against a background of Campbell Soup cans--can easily be read as a perverse, if oxymoronic, Catholic altarpiece.
While the book hopes to create a bridge between disciplines, the frequent use of technical language will alienate and confuse many literary critics, such as the bemusing oxymoronic observation that "'literary argumentation' is not merely legitimate nonvalid reasoning," but it can "help us bridge (or ignore) the gap between justification and the nonnecessary conclusion we are expected to draw" (11).
I find that "courageous soldiers who refuse to fight" is an extremely oxymoronic expression