Skip to main content

OXYMORON

OXYMORON. [From Greek oxúmōros sharp and dull. Stress: ‘awk-si-Mo-ron’]. A term in RHETORIC for bringing opposites together in a compact paradoxical word or phrase: bitter-sweet; a cheerful pessimist. The term is often used for social comment, humorously or cynically (such as in reference to military intelligence, conceived as a contradiction in terms) and dramatically, as in ‘It has become an oxymoron to speak of the Lebanese nation’ ( Jim Hoagland, The Washington Post, Apr. 1989).

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"OXYMORON." Concise Oxford Companion to the English Language. . Encyclopedia.com. 27 Apr. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"OXYMORON." Concise Oxford Companion to the English Language. . Encyclopedia.com. (April 27, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/oxymoron

"OXYMORON." Concise Oxford Companion to the English Language. . Retrieved April 27, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/oxymoron

oxymoron

oxymoron a figure of speech in which apparently contradictory terms appear in conjunction (e.g. faith unfaithful kept him falsely true). Recorded from the mid 17th century, the word comes from Greek oxumōron, neuter (used as a noun) of oxumōros ‘pointedly foolish’, from oxus ‘sharp’ + mōros ‘foolish’.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"oxymoron." The Oxford Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. . Encyclopedia.com. 27 Apr. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"oxymoron." The Oxford Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. . Encyclopedia.com. (April 27, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/oxymoron

"oxymoron." The Oxford Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. . Retrieved April 27, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/oxymoron

oxymoron

ox·y·mo·ron / ˌäksəˈmôrˌän/ • n. a figure of speech in which apparently contradictory terms appear in conjunction (e.g., faith unfaithful kept him falsely true). DERIVATIVES: ox·y·mo·ron·ic / -məˈränik/ adj.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"oxymoron." The Oxford Pocket Dictionary of Current English. . Encyclopedia.com. 27 Apr. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"oxymoron." The Oxford Pocket Dictionary of Current English. . Encyclopedia.com. (April 27, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/oxymoron-1

"oxymoron." The Oxford Pocket Dictionary of Current English. . Retrieved April 27, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/oxymoron-1

oxymoron

oxymoron (rhet.) figure in which contradictory terms are conjoined. XVII. — Gr. oxúmōron, n. sg. of oxúmoros pointedly foolish, f. oxús sharp + mōrós foolish.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"oxymoron." The Concise Oxford Dictionary of English Etymology. . Encyclopedia.com. 27 Apr. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"oxymoron." The Concise Oxford Dictionary of English Etymology. . Encyclopedia.com. (April 27, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/oxymoron-2

"oxymoron." The Concise Oxford Dictionary of English Etymology. . Retrieved April 27, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/oxymoron-2

oxymoron

oxymoronAgamemnon, Memnon •ninon, xenon •noumenon • Trianon • xoanon •organon • Simenon • Maintenon •crampon, kampong, tampon •Nippon • coupon •Akron, Dacron, macron •electron • natron • Hebron • positron •Heilbronn • micron •boron, moron, oxymoron •neutron • interferon •fleuron, Huron, neuron •Oberon • mellotron • aileron •cyclotron • Percheron • Mitterrand •vigneron • croissant • Maupassant •garçon • Cartier-Bresson • exon •frisson • Oxon • chanson • Tucson •soupçon • Aubusson • Besançon •penchant • torchon • cabochon •Anton, canton, Danton •lepton •piton, Teton •krypton • feuilleton • magneton •chiton •photon, proton •croûton, futon •eschaton • peloton • contretemps •telethon •talkathon, walkathon •Avon • tableau vivant • vol-au-vent

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"oxymoron." Oxford Dictionary of Rhymes. . Encyclopedia.com. 27 Apr. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"oxymoron." Oxford Dictionary of Rhymes. . Encyclopedia.com. (April 27, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/oxymoron-0

"oxymoron." Oxford Dictionary of Rhymes. . Retrieved April 27, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/oxymoron-0