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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 ?
Sebald's "strange" death thus affords space for a literary meditation on "strangeness" that takes up the multiple implications of "strange," established already in the poem's allusion to Owen's "Strange Meeting," itself an imagined encounter with the foreign and the dead--"'Strange friend,'" (41) as Owen's narrator addresses his counterpart, oxymoronically confusing familiar and unfamiliar in precisely the way Szirtes's poem seems to address Sebald.
Mulatto citizens, in Dixon's analysis, oxymoronically rent the infiltration of the body politic with African blood and posed a greater threat to national unity than even did Americans of "pure" African descent.
As the father (Elesin) becomes the son (Olunde), the son becomes the father; oxymoronically, as Harrow would have it, the situation "insists on the permanence of both and the irreconcilability of the two terms and of their eventual confrontation with each other" (256).
Lucian has quite a lot to say about Christians in a pamphlet he wrote against what we might oxymoronically call a genuine charlatan named Peregrinus, a character who would hot be out of place among certain Sunday morning televangelists.
That is why lawyers speak tautologically of "procedural due process" and oxymoronically of "substantive due process.
The saying goes that you shouldn't judge a book by its cover; to judge something or somebody entirely on first impressions is presumptuous, lacks rational thought and is, quite simply and oxymoronically, deeply shallow.
Given how little we actually know, what Isaac "actually" and oxymoronically "seemed" to see strains credibility.
This magazine for "housewives" became, oxymoronically, a major proponent of Canadian women's return to the paid workforce.
That focus, always oxymoronically tempered by flexibility, is most likely to be on the use of any medium--PC, television, Internet appliance, etc.
Europe's masses, it appeared, were war-ready and risk-averse and sluggish all at the same time, an oxymoronically obstructive-volatile force, easily led, but only if astray.
The dream of this group was to join a relatively large national class that can best be described, oxymoronically, as a democratic aristocracy: a distinc"better class of people," in which membership was open to anyone regardless of the circumstances of his or her birth.
Ironically, and somewhat oxymoronically, 85% of the respondents also believed that deregulation would require increased levels of regulatory vigilance.