[ ok-si-mawr-on, -mohr- ]
/ ˌɒk sɪˈmɔr ɒn, -ˈmoʊr- /
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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.”
THINGAMABOB OR THINGUMMY: CAN YOU DISTINGUISH BETWEEN THE US AND UK TERMS IN THIS QUIZ?
Do you know the difference between everyday US and UK terminology? Test yourself with this quiz on words that differ across the Atlantic.
Question 1 of 7
In the UK, COTTON CANDY is more commonly known as…
Origin of oxymoron
OTHER WORDS FROM oxymoronox·y·mo·ron·ic [ok-see-muh-ron-ik], /ˌɒk si məˈrɒn ɪk/, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023
British Dictionary definitions for oxymoron
/ (ˌɒksɪˈmɔːrɒn) /
noun plural -mora (-ˈmɔːrə)
rhetoric an epigrammatic effect, by which contradictory terms are used in conjunctionliving death; fiend angelical
Word Origin for oxymoron
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
Cultural definitions for 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.