6. Oxymora

Posted: 2013 年 10 月 24 日 in Logology
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Oxymora refer to a figure of speech in which apparently contradictory terms appear in conjunction. For example, The word sophomoric is literally “a wise fool” because such a student hasn’t the complete foolishness of a freshman or the complete wisdom of a senior.

I. Single-word oxymora composed of antagonistic elements

  1. sophomores→ wise fools

  2. preposterous→ before-after

  3. pianoforte→ soft-loud

II. Single-word oxymora composed of independent morphemes

  1. bridegroom

  2. bittersweet

  3. ballpoint

III. Literal oxymora

  1. benign neglect

  2. elevated subway

  3. one-man band

  4. open secret

  5. original copy

  6. random order

  7. working vacation

IV. Pun-based oxymora

  1. jumbo shrimp

  2. even odds

  3. death benefit

V. Parts of speech

  1. press release

  2. divorce court

  3. building wrecking

VI. Dead metaphors

  1. awfully good

  2. damned good

  3. barely clothed

  4. clearly confusing

VII. Artful oxymora

  1. little giant

  2. same difference

  3. global village

  4. accidentally on purpose

VIII. Literary oxymora

  1. concord of this discord (Shakespeare)

  2. darkness visible (Milton)

  3. falsely true (Tennyson)

  4. fearful bravery (Shakespeare)

IX. Doublespeak oxymora

  1. mandatory option

  2. virtually spotless

X. Partisan oxymora

  1. business ethics

  2. nonworking mother

XI. Technological innovations

  1. paper tablecloths

  2. metalwood

  3. plastic glasses

  4. green blackboard

  5. plastic silverware

XII. Other oxymora

  1. almost safe

  2. artificial grass

  3. backside

  4. bigger half

  5. career gambler

  6. clean coal

  7. deciding not to decide

  8. final draft

  9. free with purchase

  10. historical fiction

  11. holy war

  12. modern classic

  13. numb feeling

  14. sight unseen

XIII. Oxymoronic statements

  1. Never say never.

  2. When you fall and break both your legs, don’t come running to me.

  3. If you don’t get this note, let me know immediately.

  4. I pride myself on my humility.

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