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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 ?
Close kin to oxymoron is sophomore, a juxtaposition of the Greek sophos, "elever, wise," as in sophisticated, "wise in the ways of the world," and the abovementioned moros, "foolish.
Expand that last one to fresh frozen jumbo shrimp, and you have a double oxymoron.
As Blumenfeld notes, an oxymoron is a quick paradox (Blumenfeld, 1989).
An oxymoron yokes together two domains normally thought to be opposite.
In many cases the oxymetaphor is an oxymoron used as a metaphor.
We may have a series of oxymorons masquerading as metaphors.
Identifying the computer with a brain may be putting together things that don't belong: creating an oxymoron.
In one of those oxymorons only a bureaucrat could love, it is called ``bilingual'' education.