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The Art of the Oxymoron

Updated on June 12, 2012

A Moderately Riviting and Somewhat Comprehensive Guide to the Oxymoron

An oxymoron is a figure of speech that combines two normally contradictory terms. In their purest form, the very definitions of the words are contradictory (Jumbo Shrimp). But, then there are the opinionated ones. for which the words do not contradict each other, but together there is a contradiction in their opinion (Military Intelligence).

The word 'oxymoron' comed from the Greek words 'oxy' meaning sharp and 'moros' meaning dull, making 'oxymoron' is itself an oxymoron.

Technically the plural of 'oxymoron' is 'oxymora', not 'oxymorons', however since 'oxymorons' is so commonly used, and the language is for the people, by the people, I'll use them interchangeably.

The Oxymoron Song

This should have been a Schoolhouse Rock song! This song is comprised almost entirely of Oxymorons. The name of this song is "Untitled." Performed by Dave & Andy at the Comic Strip Live in New York. Find more funny songs at MySpace SelectedHilarity or

Movie Title Oxymorons

  • True Lies
  • Eyes Wide Shut
  • Urban Cowboy
  • Little Big Man
  • Fairy Tale: A True Story

Shakespeare's Oxymorons

This page has a TON of Shakespeare's oxymorons.

A Few Oxymora

  • Mild hot sauce
  • Minor catastrophe
  • Plastic silverware
  • Butt head
  • Bittersweet
  • Authentic reproduction

Further Oxymoron Reading

There are a countless number of oxymora floating around out there. These sites have gathered up a bunch for you.


  • practical joke
  • pretty ugly
  • perfectly awful
  • soft rock
  • sound of silence
  • sweet tart
  • white gold

A Few More

  • holy hell
  • hard pillow
  • Industrial Park
  • ironwood
  • less is more
  • least favorite

Oh, That Shakespeare and his Oxymoronic Words

Shakespeare was a big fan of oxymorons. He used them often to express emotions, that are often as mixed in meaning as the words are...

"Parting is such sweet sorrow." Romeo and Juliet Act 2, Scene 2

"So foul and fair a day I have not seen!" Macbeth, Act 1, Scene 3

"O brawling love! O loving hate! / O anything of nothing first create! / O heavy lightness, serious vanity! / Misshapen chaos of well-seeming forms! / Feather of lead, bright smoke, cold fire, sick health!" Romeo and Juliet, Act 1, Scene 1

"Do that good mischief which may make this island thine own forever..." The Tempest, Act 4 scene 1

"A tedious brief scene of young Pyramus

And his love Thisby; very tragical mirth.'

Merry and tragical! tedious and brief!

That is hot ice and wondrous strange snow."

A Midsummer Night's Dream, Act 5, Scene 1

More oxymorons from Shakespeare

Great Computer Oxymorons

  • advanced BASIC
  • Microsoft Works (my personal favorite)
  • Microsoft Excel
  • Microsoft Certified Solution Developer
  • Java standard


  • liquid smoke
  • Live Recording
  • Middle East
  • maxi thins
  • more perfect
  • modern history
  • once again

Know an awfully good oxymoron?


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    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      I hear a lot of oxymorons in everyday conversation.

    • compugraphd profile image

      compugraphd 5 years ago


      That song cracked me up! Very funny.

    • Seasons Greetings profile image

      Laura Brown 6 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Sharing this on Creative Writing Inspiration on

    • Rangoon House profile image

      AJ 6 years ago from Australia

      Oxymorons are often very clever and have sometimes become such common figures of speech that we don't event take time to consider the contradiction.

    • Zodiacimmortal profile image

      Kim 6 years ago from Yonkers, NY

      Thank y ou for the oxymorons.. lol I Quite enjoyed the microsoft works as well.. as I have microsoft (but not the works program unfortunately.. I loved the templates that were on that on my old computer) I've added the lens to my Epic ballad of Poetry & I think my no bummer seaso reader

    • Lady Lorelei profile image

      Lorelei Cohen 6 years ago from Canada

      Now that you have brought the term oxymoron to my attention once again I realize that I use them quite often in my writing. I enjoy a good pun on words and taking the serious into a nonsense tone to make a point. A bit oxymoron I guess ;)

    • profile image

      julieannbrady 8 years ago

      I remember years ago that our local newspaper had a competition of sorts about unusual oxymorons -- they've always "fascinated" me considering I was an English major in college.

    • GonnaFly profile image

      Jeanette 8 years ago from Australia

      Hehehe - very entertaining lens. I got this numb feeling as I read it ;-)

    • profile image

      anonymous 8 years ago

      clear fog, black rain, artificial reality

    • profile image

      anonymous 8 years ago

      accurate election; accurate rumor; Affordable housing; A foot ahead; Air field; alone together; bigger half; Cafeteria food; classic rock&roll; wise fool (sophomore); crash landing; designer jeans; eggplant; good morning; simply complicated

    • profile image

      anonymous 9 years ago

      sid i hate u gaaaah you pig and chauvanist ass wipe[in reply to sid]

    • profile image

      anonymous 9 years ago

      intelligent women; fresh pickles;flat breasted;this is the ultimate - sexual harrasment :)

    • profile image

      anonymous 9 years ago

      good husband

      decaf coffee

      non-alcoholic beer

    • profile image

      anonymous 10 years ago

      Beside Santa, I'm a subordinate clause

    • profile image

      anonymous 10 years ago

      pretty ugly