Top 10 Oxymorons

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Oxymoron is a figure of speech in which two opposite ideas are joined to create an effect. The common oxymoron phrase is a combination of an adjective proceeded by a noun with contrasting meanings, e.g. “cruel kindness” or “living death”.

However, the contrasting words/phrases are not always glued together. The contrasting ideas may be spaced out in a sentence, e.g. “In order to lead, you must walk behind.”

Difference between Oxymoron and Paradox

It is important to understand the difference between a paradox and an oxymoron. A paradox may consist of a sentence or even a group of sentences. An oxymoron, on the other hand, is a combination of two contradictory or opposite words. A paradox seems contradictory to the general truth but it does contain an implied truth. An oxymoron, however, may produce a dramatic effect but does not make sense. Examples of oxymoron are found both in casual conversations and in literature.

Function of an Oxymoron

An Oxymoron creates a dramatic effect in both prose as well as poetry.  If you have read or heard the famous oxymoron, “sweet sorrow”, by Shakespeare, it does hold an appeal for all of us. It makes us think about the meaning of the contradicting ideas.

This confusing phrase conveys the complex nature of love that is captured perfectly by simply juxtaposing two simple words.

People do not use oxymoron in their day-to-lives to make profound statements but only to show wit.

Here we go:

It was an open secret that the minor crisis was a result of some pretty ugly work by the clearly confused boys who were found missing almost exactly after the disaster.

The only choice left with the manager was to get an unbiased opinion and make an exact estimate of the damage.

Some more examples are as follows:

Deafening silence
Dry drunk
Forward Retreat
Irregular pattern
Serious joke
Sweet Sorrow
Lead from behind
Dark light
Crazy Wisdom
Mournful optimist
Artificial grass
Electric candles
Invisible ink
Plastic glass
Plastic lemons
Rubber bones for dogs
Solid water
Iron wood
Absolutely unsure
Abundant poverty
Academic fraternity
Academic sorority
Accurate estimate
Accurate horoscope
Accurate rumors


Published on Dec. 22, 2015 by EnglishMate
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