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I am trying to translate a word in another language that roughly translates to either one of the phrases above. Basically the term is supposed to describe a design that is timeless and a classic. I am not sure why the word modern/contemporary was included (could be a mistake), but I would like to know if either translation would make any sense in English. It seems to be an oxymoron, but maybe someone can suggest a possible meaning for either phrase.

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closed as not a real question by MετάEd, Kris, Matt Эллен, tchrist, Hellion Apr 17 '13 at 15:12

It's difficult to tell what is being asked here. This question is ambiguous, vague, incomplete, overly broad, or rhetorical and cannot be reasonably answered in its current form. For help clarifying this question so that it can be reopened, visit the help center.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

    
Both make sense (GR). However, in order to understand which is appropriate to your context, you will need domain-knowledge (off topic). On a different note, there's no oxymoron in the expression in spite of contradictory words juxtaposed and used adjectivally. –  Kris Apr 17 '13 at 11:12
    
Please reword your question. At the moment it seems that you want to know if something makes sense, but that would require more conext. If the design is timeless and a classic why not use those words instead? E.g. a classic, timeless design. –  Matt Эллен Apr 17 '13 at 11:24

2 Answers 2

You could argue that something can be both classic and contemporary i.e. that "classic" doesn't always mean "old". But I'm inclined to agree that the phrases, if not oxymorons, are at least pretty meaningless. A slight improvement might be "classic design with a contemporary twist" or "contemporary design with a classic twist". But these suggestions are a bit cliched, so, as you suggest, I'd ditch the "contemporary" bit and stick with "classic design".

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A Google search returns nearly a million hits each for both "classic contemporary" and "contemporary classic". But, based on the first hits I get, it looks like "classic contemporary" is more usual for design, while "contemporary classic" tends to be used for music. So I would go for "classic contemporary" in your case.

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