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What is an Oxymoron

Updated on August 27, 2011

Oxymoron Meaning

An oxymoron is basically a phrase in which two words of contradictory or opposite meaning are brought together. The word oxymoron (plural: oxymora or oxymorons) comes from the Greek words (oxys = sharp, keen + moros = foolish). An oxymoron seems to be contradictory, but when you take it on a serious note, it might surprisingly sound funny as well.

Oxymorons are sometimes created by mistakes or errors in conversation. Oxymorons appear in a variety of contexts, and usually one word of an oxymoron is intended to have multiple meanings, and the apparent self-contradiction arises from this. Many times during sports commentary, commentators use such type of funny words to describe an unusual event. You can have a better understanding about oxymoron, if you go through certain examples.


Examples of Oxymoron

To understand more about what an oxymoron is, let us look at the following examples – clearly misunderstood, exact estimate, small crowd, act naturally, found missing, fully empty, seriously funny, only choice, original copies, etc. The most common form of oxymoron involves an adjective-noun combination of two words, for example, dark light, living dead, etc.

In all the above examples, the meaning of two words is contradictory. Like, for example, by saying dark light you mean to say that the light was dark; but how can a light be dark. Dark means there is no light. Similarly, take one more example of small crowd. How could a crowd be small? So, a contradiction arises this way and we take meanings differently.

Oxymorons are not necessarily mistakes or errors. They make effective titles and appealing phrases, and some are meant to be humorous. So, if you want to make your conversation more stylish or funny, use oxymorons (adjective-noun combination).


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    • anujagarwal profile image

      Anuj Agarwal 6 years ago from Noida

      Wow, you have a great list of Oxymorons. Fresh Canned food is simply awesome :)

    • kerlynb profile image

      kerlynb 6 years ago from Philippines, Southeast Asia, Earth ^_^

      Liked this, thanks for writing :) Oxymoron:

      - accurate rumors

      - awfully pretty

      - clever fool

      - canned fresh

      Ahhh... the list goes on. Again, thanks for writing this informative hub.