On Breaking Bad, Saul Goodman remarks, "Some people are immune to good advice." Similarly, a friend of mine described a weekend as "a celebration of procrastination".

Does word play that juxtaposes the verb and the object, as the examples above do, have a name?


The phrases have an oxymoronic quality to them

a figure of speech in which opposite or contradictory ideas or terms are combined (Ex.: thunderous silence, sweet sorrow)

In the examples given, the modifiers are incongruously linked to terms that belie them. One is generally immune to bad things, not good, and one celebrates the positive, not the negative.


Figurative language,

Departing from a literal use of words; metaphorical: gold, in the figurative language of the people, was “the tears wept by the sun.”

Source: Oxfordonline

  • I meant to refer to the humorous contrast between the verb and their objects realized by their unusual collocations. – Hal Apr 13 '14 at 22:59

I think it is innuendo

An innuendo is an insinuation or intimation about a person or thing, especially of a disparaging or a derogatory nature.

It can also be a remark or question, typically disparaging (also called insinuation), that works obliquely by allusion. In the latter sense the intention is often to insult or accuse someone in such a way that one's words, taken literally, are innocent.

So in both examples, you are writing a negative thing in such a way that it looks positive and it also has a subtle mockery. This is innuendo.

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