(redirected from oxymorons)
Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus.
Related to oxymorons: paradox


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 ?
Oxymorons come in handy in astronomy because we're dealing with phenomena about whose properties we're often part confident, part stumped.
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.
One of the most famous examples of the use of oxymorons is the following speech by Romeo from William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet :
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.
And yet this oxymoron can be effectively used as a metaphor to describe a potential development of electronic media.
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.
Thinking is computing may be another oxymoron, joining opposites together.