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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 ?
After two lines of using language repetitively (to signal, perhaps, a lack of "superstition," or fear of being dead within it), our speaker attempts to keep on moving out against its and other entombing limits, with one oxymoronically continual "only stop" for the Eucharist--or, one might say, for Easter, which the daily communion rite both commemorates and, Christians believe, reenacts.
This virtual, "humanist" persistence compares favorably with the terrible, fulfilled wish of Tithonus, whose monologue is the pendant to that of "Ulysses"--and whose contrary "immortality" is oxymoronically "fatal.
The jacket illustration of Michael O'Neill's inspiring book reveals how dangerously beautiful the oxymoronically 'all-sustaining air' is.
Saying that humanity is made for a more uncivilized life, in tune with nature, he offers a possible new way for people to live their lives, one that manages to be oxymoronically traditional and untraditional at the same time.
To this effect Good Morning, Night casts against the indifferent, lifeless--and, for the most part, eerily unreal--'official History' of historians the full-bodied reality of what could be called, somewhat oxymoronically, the experiential history of individual lives.
SOMEWHAT oxymoronically, Royal Ascot is a truly egalitarian race meeting - that is, in terms of the equines.
Blogs are, oxymoronically, public diaries, where bloggers play with exposure, others' and their own.
Even the otherwise devoted Wang, who is oxymoronically called an "aggressively [.
which Nike happily exploited for profit with their Nike Free shoes, marketed oxymoronically as "barefoot shoes," was sparked in part by the Tarahumara Indians of northern Mexico, as well as the historical precedent of Abebe Bikila's 1960 barefoot marathon victory.
The urban historian Robert Fishman has, rather oxymoronically, labeled the increasingly anemic suburban ideal 'bourgeois utopia'--a supposedly placid refuge from urban woe.
This is true of the base, not what is oxymoronically called the Democratic leadership, which has colluded with Bush on the war, either out of cowardice or because the neoconservative wing of the Washington-based Democratic Party actually believes in these hallucinations.
This incident must have strained relations between the two theatrical camps to the limit, if not beyond, and Caple exacerbated them further when the Queen's included in its press publicity for the following week what can only be described oxymoronically as a triumphant apology: