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 oxymoron—listening to music that hates work while walking to work. It then spurred a runaway thought train: what if a person looks slender but has bodily strength that matches a champion weightlifter’s—is that an oxymoron? Or are oxymorons used for feelings (like bittersweet)? I know the attributes aren’t next to each other like a traditional oxymoron, but it’s not a contradiction because you’re not going against yourself. So what is it?

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    It's almost certainly better to restrict the term 'oxymoron' to examples in speech or writing. The hypernym 'paradox' is often used in an extended sense: << a situation, person, or thing [in which are combined] contradictory features or qualities. "the mingling of deciduous trees with elements of desert flora forms a fascinating ecological paradox" >> (Dictionary by Google). 'Incongruous' is not too far away, but has a nuance of 'strange = weird' or 'out of place = unbecoming'. – Edwin Ashworth Aug 5 '14 at 10:29
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    I have a feeling that this is a joke question. If so it is a very well disguised one and caused me a chuckle. The similarity of "oxymoron" to "moron" which is clearly a person, is clever. – chasly from UK Jul 14 '15 at 11:10
  • Yes. If someone is really, really into Oxi-Clean, and keeps recommending it in situations where it doesn't make sense, you might call that person an Oxi-Moron. – Casey Jul 17 '17 at 13:23
  • Now I am thinking of a superhero called Oxymoron Man. Thanks. – K Dog Feb 19 at 13:01

Perhaps you need a better understanding of exactly what an oxymoron is. An oxymoron is the name of a particular figure of speech, and as such, does not apply to walking to work listening to "The Magnificent Seven" by the Clash. That behavior may be paradoxical, contradictory, or described by some other term which is escaping me at the moment, but it is not an oxymoron.

On the other hand, if one were to describe someone who walks to work listening to the song you refer to as a "wise fool", the term "wise fool" is an oxymoron, but neither the person, nor the behavior is.

  • +1, though "wise fool" is a rather sophomoric example of an oxymoron. – Brian Donovan Aug 5 '14 at 13:03
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    Admittedly. But I thought it was the example that best fit the context. – brasshat Aug 5 '14 at 13:25
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    I'd call it ironic, but not oxymoronic. – TecBrat Aug 5 '14 at 14:15

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