oxymoron(redirected from oxymorons)
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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.