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On dailymail.co.uk there is a news article titled "Deafening silence as immigrant tide rises" where the journalist wrote "a loud silence has ensued".

Is there a name to define phrases like loud silence?

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This question could be improved by showing the results of basic research that you attempted before asking the question, and possibly rewriting your question in light of what you found. The question as it stands is off topic (too basic, general reference). A OneLook search for "deafening silence" identifies this as an "oxymoron" in the body of the second search result (dictionary.com). – MετάEd Sep 10 '12 at 13:52
up vote 7 down vote accepted

A "a combination for epigrammatic effect of contradictory or incongruous words" [M-W] is called an oxymoron.

(The phrase in your example brings to mind the old Manfred Mann album "The Roaring Silence.")

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Also open secret, Hell's Angels, seriously funny, living dead, jumbo shrimp, unbiased opinion, virtual reality, only choice, freezer burn, almost exactly, pretty ugly, etc. Plus the somewhat more whimsical Microsoft Works, military intelligence, Advanced BASIC, etc. – FumbleFingers Apr 25 '12 at 17:45
... American English ... – Jay Apr 25 '12 at 20:53
Actually some of those aren't really oxymorons. "Unbiased opinion"? Nothing about the definition of "opinion" implies that it must be biased. "Pretty ugly": of course "pretty" here means not "goog-looking" but "very". – Jay Apr 25 '12 at 20:55
... Congressional Ethics ... – Jay Apr 25 '12 at 20:56
@FumbleFingers I suppose it depends on your definitions of "biased" and "opinion". "Bias" implies to me an unfair judgement based on prejudice. Life if you said, "I don't like Windows 7 because the new search function doesn't let me do a fast search by file name only", that would be an unbiased opinion. Debatable, but no obvious bias. But if you said, "I don't like Windows 7 because all Microsoft products are junk", that would be biased. And sure, there's a gray area in the middle. Anyway, I don't want to make an argument over this, just commenting. – Jay Apr 26 '12 at 16:08

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