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If "jumbo shrimp" is an oxymoron is there another term to describe phrases like "small shrimp" "bad wreck" "tough problem" and "most favorite"?

marked as duplicate by Kristina Lopez, ghoppe, cornbread ninja 麵包忍者, Canis Lupus, Marthaª Nov 7 '13 at 20:48

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  • Could you use Desoxymoron? – John Lawler Nov 7 '13 at 19:40
  • Do you mean an adjective that describes a quality inherent in the object? If so, I suspect there isn't one, because it would simply be describing the object accurately, as adjectives are supposed to do. – Zibbobz Nov 7 '13 at 19:44
  • Your question sounds a bit like asking 'If something is not eccentric, what is it?'. Well I suppose the answer is 'centric', but it is not a word I have ever heard used, since if something is normal, there is no reason to mention it. If I went out to the car in the morning and noticed that it only had three wheels, I would undoubtedly inform my wife. But if it has four, I would be unlikely to say 'The car has four wheels, just like it did last night'. Using an antonym for oxymoron is a bit like remarking that your car still has four wheels! – WS2 Nov 7 '13 at 20:55

They are all just adjectives. The ones you have are "intensifiers" as they enhance the meaning of the original word. But there aren't distinct names for common cases.


If you feel that the modifier is unnecessary perhaps one of the following suggestions is what you're looking for.

redundancy - noun - the use of words or data that could be omitted without loss of meaning or function

superfluous - adjective - unnecessary, especially through being more than enough

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