oxymoron [ok-si- mawr-on, - mohr-] Word Origin See more synonyms on Thesaurus.com noun, plural ox·y·mo·ra , [ok-si- mawr- uh, - mohr- uh] /ˌɒk sɪˈmɔr ə, -ˈmoʊr ə/ ox·y·mor·ons. . Rhetoric a figure of speech by which a locution produces an incongruous, seemingly self-contradictory effect, as in “cruel kindness” or “to make haste slowly.” Origin of oxymoron 1650–60;
Late Latin oxymorum
sharp-dull, equivalent to
) sharp (see
Related forms ox·y·mo·ron·ic , [ok-see-m uh- ron-ik] /ˌɒk si məˈrɒn ɪk/ adjective
Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
British Dictionary definitions for oxymoron noun plural -mora ( -ˈmɔːrə) rhetoric an epigrammatic effect, by which contradictory terms are used in conjunction living death; fiend angelical Word Origin
C17: via New Latin from Greek
oxumōron, from oxus sharp + mōros stupid
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
Word Origin and History for oxymoron n.
1650s, from Greek
oxymoron, noun use of neuter of oxymoros (adj.) "pointedly foolish," from oxys "sharp" (see acrid) + moros "stupid" (see moron). Rhetorical figure by which contradictory terms are conjoined so as to give point to the statement or expression; the word itself is an illustration of the thing. Now often used loosely to mean "contradiction in terms." Related: Oxymoronic.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
oxymoron [(ok-see- mawr-on)]
A rhetorical device in which two seemingly contradictory words are used together for effect: “She is just a poor little rich girl.”
The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.