[ ok-si-mawr-on, -mohr- ]
See synonyms for oxymoron 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.
  1. 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

First recorded in 1650–60; from Late Latin oxymorum, from presumed Greek oxýmōron (unrecorded), neuter of oxýmōros (unrecorded) “sharp-dull,” equivalent to oxý(s) “sharp” (see oxy-1) + mōrós “dull” (see moron)

Other words from oxymoron

  • ox·y·mo·ron·ic [ok-see-muh-ron-ik], /ˌɒk si məˈrɒn ɪk/, adjective

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British Dictionary definitions for oxymoron


/ (ˌɒksɪˈmɔːrɒn) /

nounplural -mora (-ˈmɔːrə)
  1. rhetoric an epigrammatic effect, by which contradictory terms are used in conjunction: living death; fiend angelical

Origin of 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.