Conjoining contradictory terms

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52
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14answers
9k views

Is “certainly possible” an oxymoron?

The phrase "certainly possible" is fairly common, but it strikes me as an oxymoron. Is it?
13
votes
4answers
1k views

What is a “moorland farmer”?

I came across the phrase "moorland farmer" yesterday while reading The Hound of the Baskervilles, and Google shows that the phrase has some currency. [link] We don't have moors in the U.S. — or ...
10
votes
6answers
4k views

Is describing something as 'detailed and concise' an oxymoron?

For example: The instructions must be detailed and concise.
7
votes
3answers
76 views

Is this an oxymoron?

Minimum of up to three years of full-time applicable work experience in municipal solid waste services administration or closely related field. Is the phrase minimum of up to three years an ...
4
votes
2answers
148 views

'Orthogonality' in words [closed]

The concept of the opposite of a word is well known, for example black/white, on/off. In mathematics, there is the concept of 'orthogonal', meaning geometrically perpendicular. Is there a ...
3
votes
6answers
884 views

Can you sort by random?

This is the quote from Linux sort utility manual: -R, --random-sort sort by random hash of keys Isn't this a form of oxymoron? How can you sort by random, if usually random lists are ...
3
votes
3answers
615 views

Are 'probably' and 'actually' mutually exclusive?

I had an argument with my acquaintances: [discussing the same translations of the phrase to various languages] xxx: the German sentence is wrong, for what it's worth yyy: the French one is too yyy: ...
2
votes
1answer
242 views

Isn't the term bully pulpit an oxymoron? [closed]

bully pulpit: A public office or position of authority that provides its occupant with an outstanding opportunity to speak out on any issue. bully: A person who uses strength or power to harm or ...
2
votes
3answers
160 views

Is “Thrashing Win” an oxymoron?

According to me, a "crushing defeat" and a "thrashing win" are opposites. I have always seen the usage of these two terms in sports. But I have seldom seen the usage of "thrashing defeat". Is ...
2
votes
1answer
105 views

Is “What the problem isn't, is that they're too attentive” an oxymoron?

This is a very slightly tongue in cheek question with some interesting, hopefully, grammatical side-effects: Is the following an oxymoron? What the problem isn't, is that they're too attentive. ...
1
vote
2answers
2k views

Is “pretty ugly” an oxymoron?

[credit for to this question goes to Ben Hocking, who posted it as an example that seemed to be disagreed upon in Is "certainly possible" an oxymoron? ] Some web-references (e.g. this one) ...
1
vote
4answers
295 views

Is the phrase “anecdotal evidence” an oxymoron?

If evidence is empirical then surely anecdotes can't be evidence can they?
1
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2answers
253 views

Is unknown certainty oxymoronic?

If someone started a story thus, In a time lost, in a certain yet unknown place, is the Castle of Umberdeen ... How could an entity be a certainty and yet unknown? It does not make sense. But ...
1
vote
4answers
247 views

Can one observe an absence of something?

It seems to me that because there is an absence of something, it should be impossible to observe it. Therefore, if I wanted to say This is supported by the experimentally observed absence of... ...
1
vote
2answers
10k views

Is this a paradox, oxymoron, or irony?

The sentence is Laughter was his way of expressing his alarm and despair. I know this is the definition of an oxymoron: a figure of speech in which apparently contradictory terms appear in ...
1
vote
1answer
45 views

“Dumped them Ceremoniously”- Is this an oxymoron? In a physical sense, like, dumping a bunch of leaves. Or Flowers? Along those lines

Is the phrase Dumped them Ceremoniously an oxymoron? Is it over the "oxymoron" word limit? I hit upon this phrase when I was trying to write in a humorous vein about someone throwing something, ...
1
vote
1answer
32 views

Would False Façade be considered an oxymoron such as Act Natural [closed]

I'm using the term False Façade, would this be considered an oxymoron such as Act Natural?
0
votes
1answer
2k views

A loud silence has ensued

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 ...
0
votes
2answers
264 views

If something is not an Oxymoron, what is it? [duplicate]

If "jumbo shrimp" is an oxymoron is there another term to describe phrases like "small shrimp" "bad wreck" "tough problem" and "most favorite"?
0
votes
2answers
447 views

Classic contemporary design and contemporary classic design [closed]

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 ...
0
votes
2answers
337 views

Is this an oxymoron

Is the following quote an oxymoron? I hope the events at the Olympics will be uneventful (meaning lacking any terrorist attacks, etc.)
-1
votes
1answer
79 views

Usage of “unbelievably likely” [closed]

When listening to BBC commentary of a World Cup game last week, I stumbled upon the expression used by the commentator. In my ears, to describe something as "unbelievably likely" is a contradiction in ...
-2
votes
1answer
2k views

Can a person be an oxymoron?

I was thinking about how I walk to work while listening to “The Magnificent Seven” by The Clash, which depicts the stupidity of work. I thought that, in a way, is an ...
-2
votes
1answer
424 views

Similar contrast [closed]

I'm writing an essay on metaphors. I have the following section: A final connection between Atticus Finch and a suit of armour is their ability to carry others’ skins. A suit of armour holds ...