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Questions tagged [oxymoron]

Conjoining contradictory terms

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2answers
34 views

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 ...
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3answers
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?
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1answer
42 views

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 ...
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1answer
67 views

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 ...
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2answers
176 views

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: .......
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1answer
741 views

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 ...
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2answers
753 views

Is “awfully well” an oxymoron? [closed]

The phrase “awfully well” is fairly common, but it strikes me as an oxymoron. Is it?
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1answer
270 views

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 ...
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2answers
665 views

What is the literary device that describes phrases like “faithfully unfaithful”?

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 ...
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5answers
7k views

Is “recent past” an oxymoron?

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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3answers
3k views

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, ...
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1answer
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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 ...
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1answer
151 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, ...
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3answers
515 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?
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1answer
115 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?
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4answers
2k views

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-...
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3answers
14k 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) ...
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15answers
11k views

Is “certainly possible” an oxymoron?

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

Is the phrase “anecdotal evidence” an oxymoron?

If evidence is empirical then surely anecdotes can't be evidence can they?
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6answers
1k 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 ...
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4answers
3k 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 ...
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3answers
325 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 "...
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2answers
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'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 ...
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3answers
785 views

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?
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1answer
358 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 ...
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1answer
141 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. ...
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1answer
11k 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—...
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1answer
94 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 ...
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3answers
17k 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 ...
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2answers
1k 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.)
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6answers
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Is describing something as 'detailed and concise' an oxymoron?

For example: The instructions must be detailed and concise.
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2answers
1k 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"?
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4answers
567 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... ...
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3answers
520 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,...
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2answers
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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 ...
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1answer
4k 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 ...
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3answers
1k 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: ...
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1answer
704 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 people ...