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Questions tagged [oxymoron]

Conjoining contradictory terms

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What is the term/phrase in academic English Literature given to idioms/figure-of-speech/proverbs/narratives that are oxymorons/self-contradictory? [closed]

Unless the employer stuffs my mouth with gold until I gag, I will Not work for them. What is the term/phrase in academic English Literature given to idioms/figure-of-speech/proverbs/narratives that ...
crazyTech's user avatar
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Is there a term for two words together that would be an oxymoron, but aren't due to context or usage? [duplicate]

Like 'pretty ugly'. The most used meaning of 'pretty' is contradictory to 'ugly', and it could feasibly be used to mean something like (if it were an oxymoron), 'someone who may be considered ugly, ...
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Is freak of nature an oxymoron?

My question is, is the term "freak of nature" a oxymoron? I feel as if it is a oxymoron due to freak and nature being contradictions of each other, but I am not sure.
bruh's user avatar
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Is "one-sided conversation" an oxymoron?

A conversation is thought to be between 2 or more people, who both talk (loose definition). If only one person spoke, did a conversation take place?
NFeruch - FreePalestine's user avatar
3 votes
1 answer
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What device is "lullabies and battle cries", phrases that show two opposite ends of a scale? [duplicate]

In lyrics to a poem, the author is commenting on a group of people and mentions their "lullabies and battle cries". My other half belives this is an oxymoron, however I don't think this is ...
Stevo134's user avatar
4 votes
3 answers
2k views

Why do some people say “negative growth” instead of using a single word indicating a decrease?

I am not a native English speaker, nor am I an economist. I have heard the term "negative growth" used in the context of Gross National Product (GNP), and it seems that it is also used in ...
Teo's user avatar
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1 answer
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Is "delightfully shambolic" an oxymoron or not? [closed]

A friend has claimed the term "delightfully shambolic" is an oxymoron. I disagree as I don't see that they're contradictory as such, more just strange bedfellows. Surely something along the ...
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Can I use “both” and “each” together in a sentence? [closed]

A has one house, and B has one house. Is Both of them have one house each. Grammatically correct? I think it’s incorrect because it can be converted into ‘They have one house for each and for both’, ...
user284747's user avatar
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243 views

"Permanent Suspension"

The Twitter statement about disabling President Trump's account mentions a "permanent suspension": [...] we have permanently suspended the account due to the risk of further incitement of ...
Artefacto's user avatar
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Is “complete conjecture” an oxymoron?

I use these two words together fairly often as it has a nicer ring to it than “conjecture” on its own, but it recently occurred to me that it may make no sense at all. Thoughts?
Francis O'Donovan's user avatar
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Is the term "self-supervision" an oxymoron?

I was suddenly curious because I had always thought that "supervision" implied there being two separate entities. For example, when I search the definition of "supervision," I get a few results along ...
Sean's user avatar
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Can I use "parallel myriad" in a sentence and would that be an oxymoron? [closed]

The sentance is: Task: Add two APIs to the ESB. Info: Parallel Myriad task which involves all seven systems to work together and deliver this.
TheBlackBenzKid's user avatar
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1 answer
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How long has the expression 'underage woman' been in use, and is it an oxymoron?

A blog entry posted today at The Atlantic online—"The Myth of the 'Underage Woman'," by Megan Garber—argues that "underage woman" is an oxymoron: The phrase is wrong in every sense: There is no ...
Sven Yargs's user avatar
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Oxymoron structure - best way to structure [closed]

Writing a short story in which a young person finds a new friendship in an older person. And invites the older person to an event with a lot of young, long term friends. I'm blanking out on what is ...
Desmond Potts's user avatar
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3 answers
3k views

What does "unanimously disagreed" mean?

The complete sentence runs as follows: The judges unanimously disagreed that he was fit to compete. What does it mean?
Nathan's user avatar
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Is 'prudent vigour' an oxymoron?

I was reading the History of the Fall and Decline of the Roman Empire (Edward Gibbon, 1776) when I encountered the phrase 'prudent vigour'. Prudent means carefulness and showing forethought while ...
Abhishek Mhatre's user avatar
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1 answer
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There has to be a proper term for this

... because oxymoron just doesn't seem to be enough. The term: tragic mishap Ok, admittedly I'm trying to correct someone and I want to be absolutely sure that I know what I'm talking about. I ...
Michelle's user avatar
1 vote
2 answers
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Regarding Trump's "being, like, really smart" statement. What is it called when the content of statement is contradicted by its composition?

Trump's recent tweet about his mental stability and genius like intelligence, made me wonder. What's it called when someone makes a statement that appears to be a contradiction like this: .......
ocodo's user avatar
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is there any word to describe a person (or a phenomenon) that can accomplish contradictory things?

For example, if someone is given to finish two contradictory things (or we can say task) and he/she would accomplish all at the same time. It's like oxymoron, but somebody can handle those kind of ...
Jay's user avatar
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Is “awfully well” an oxymoron? [closed]

The phrase “awfully well” is fairly common, but it strikes me as an oxymoron. Is it?
vira housewife's user avatar
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What is the meaning of acute apathy that makes it an oxymoron? [closed]

So I'm not getting why acute apathy is an oxymoron. I looked these up in a dictionary. Apathy means "lack of interest" and acute means "intense". But I still don't get why it's an oxymoron, and I've ...
qufen5's user avatar
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What is the literary device that describes phrases like "faithfully unfaithful"? [duplicate]

I came across a Wikipedia page a few months ago that described a literary device that had two opposite words side by side in a sentence. Unlike an oxymoron ("horribly kind", "run slow"), this page ...
Andrew Martin's user avatar
34 votes
5 answers
10k views

Is "recent past" an oxymoron? [closed]

I saw "recent past" included in a page of supposed oxymorons posted on Facebook, with people yukking it up while apparently badly misunderstanding what an oxymoron is. One well-meaning but confused ...
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Someone with opposing personality traits

I'm looking for a word for someone with personality traits that oppose each other. Not someone two-faced but more like someone who is two sides of a coin but a the same time; like shy but outgoing, ...
Anikin Remmington's user avatar
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1 answer
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Is this an oxymoron or do they juxtapose each-other? [closed]

I am currently reading the book 'Spies' by Michael Frayn, and this phrase comes up quite often: 'Everything is as it was; and everything has changed' The use of the semi-colon between the two ...
Desthstro's user avatar
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1 answer
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"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, ...
Sphoorthy Nutulapati's user avatar
6 votes
4 answers
802 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 oxymoron?
Heather's user avatar
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1 answer
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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?
Kevin's user avatar
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7 answers
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Plastic silverware - What's that? (American English)

I was surprised to discover that what we Brits call cutlery is called silverware in the U.S. To me the term 'silverware' refers to items that are made of pure silver or, at the very least, are silver-...
chasly - supports Monica's user avatar
4 votes
3 answers
24k 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) ...
Spork's user avatar
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62 votes
15 answers
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Is "certainly possible" an oxymoron?

The phrase "certainly possible" is fairly common, but it strikes me as an oxymoron. Is it?
Wad Cheber's user avatar
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5 answers
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Is the phrase "anecdotal evidence" an oxymoron?

If evidence is empirical then surely anecdotes can't be evidence can they?
James Carr's user avatar
3 votes
6 answers
2k 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 not ...
kenorb's user avatar
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14 votes
4 answers
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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 ...
ruakh's user avatar
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1 vote
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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 "...
user3164272's user avatar
4 votes
2 answers
961 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 ...
JMP's user avatar
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What literary term is applicable to "awful majesty?" [closed]

What would "awful majesty" be considered? I believe there is a literary term for this kind of contradictory statement – perhaps irony? Or is there another word for it?
AP English Student's user avatar
2 votes
1 answer
392 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 ...
user avatar
2 votes
1 answer
189 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. ...
Araucaria - Him's user avatar
-2 votes
1 answer
23k 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 oxymoron—...
SomeAmbigiousUserName's user avatar
-1 votes
1 answer
100 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 ...
Jonas's user avatar
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2 votes
3 answers
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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 ...
Michael Yaworski's user avatar
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2 answers
2k 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.)
Julie's user avatar
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9 votes
5 answers
15k views

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

For example: The instructions must be detailed and concise.
MeltingDog's user avatar
0 votes
2 answers
3k 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"?
gene's user avatar
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2 votes
4 answers
910 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... ...
darthbith's user avatar
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1 vote
3 answers
870 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 then,...
Blessed Geek's user avatar
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2 answers
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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 ...
Michael Lai's user avatar
0 votes
1 answer
5k 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 ...
Elberich Schneider's user avatar
3 votes
3 answers
2k 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: ...
kyrylo's user avatar
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