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n. pl. ox·y·mo·rons or ox·y·mo·ra (-môr′ə)
A rhetorical figure in which incongruous or contradictory terms are combined, as in a deafening silence and a mournful optimist.

[Greek (attested only in Latin sources) oxumōron, an expression that is witty because paradoxical, from neuter of *oxumōros, pointedly foolish : Greek oxus, sharp, keen; see oxygen + mōros, dull, foolish.]

ox′y·mo·ron′ic (-mə-rŏn′ĭk) adj.
ox′y·mo·ron′i·cal·ly adv.


(Literary & Literary Critical Terms) literature of or relating to an oxymoron
(Rhetoric) having the characteristics of an oxymoron
References in periodicals archive ?
That's virtually as oxymoronic as planisphere (from the Latin words for plane and sphere).
There's a bit oxymoronic about the definition, though.
Given the context, "a vibrant defence industry" seems oxymoronic to me.
One of the things I find most infuriating is the oxymoronic double standard in which white Jews will say that they're not white, but will regard Jews of Colorparticularly black onessuspiciously because said Jews, simply put, are not white.
For many in Hollywood, the thought of a gay Republican is met with a look of oxymoronic bewilderment.
Thus, the premise of an "occult enlightenment" is not as oxymoronic as it might first appear, Monod argues; sometimes one might even think of it as a "super-Enlightenment," extending the ideas of human perfectibility "beyond the limits of rationale understanding" (263).
This seemingly oxymoronic statement appears to overlook that first 300 years of Christianity devoted to understanding and implementing the life and teachings of Jesus.
Clinton's rollout, an oxymoronic wonder of planned spontaneity and engineered authenticity, was successful if unsubtle
SCUBA Cuba is fun to say, but the two words are also oxymoronic -- a communist-minded acronym might better be: Smoking Cigars Underwater Begets Anarchy.
THE oxymoronic nature of the term 'FIFA's ethics committee' is not lost on most people, but amusement turned to anger when the body's adjudicatory chamber recently cleared both Russia and Qatar to host the 2018 and 2022 World Cup tournaments having found no serious breaches of bidding rules by either nation.
The term 'affordable housing' is surely an oxymoronic term as all houses in an open market environment will float to the level of this market force, especially when, as now, there is a chronic shortage of houses.
The Epilogue then looks to contemporary caricatures (a source cited throughout the book) as evidence of the oxymoronic power of Sheridan's "theatrical politics" (248).