100 Awfully Good Examples of Oxymorons        0  66 reads

Oxymorons

The rhetorical term oxymoron, made up of two Greek words meaning "sharp" and "dull," is itself oxymoronic.

As you probably remember from school, an oxymoron is a compressed paradox: a figure of speech in which seemingly contradictory terms appear side by side. British writer Thomas Gibbons characterized the figure as "sense in the masquerade of folly."

The oxymoron has also been called "the show-off" figure, one that gives voice to life's inherent conflicts and incongruities.

But then all of that may be old news to you.

Like other kinds of figurative language, oxymorons (or oxymora) are often found in literature.

However, as shown by this list of 100 awfully good examples, oxymorons are also part of our everyday speech.


  1. "absent presence"
  2. alone together
  3. awful good
  4. "beggarly riches"
  5. bitter sweet
  6. "brisk vacancy"
  7. cheerful pessimist
  8. civil war
  9. clearly misunderstood
  10. "comfortable misery"
  11. conspicuous absence
  12. cool passion
  13. crash landing
  14. cruel kindness
  15. "darkness visible"
  16. deafening silence
  17. deceptively honest
  18. definite maybe
  19. deliberate speed
  20. devout atheist
  21. dull roar
  22. eloquent silence
  23. even odds
  24. exact estimate
  25. extinct life
  26. "falsely true"
  27. festive tranquility
  28. found missing
  29. freezer burn
  30. friendly takeover
  31. genuine imitation
  32. good grief
  33. growing smaller
  34. guest host
  35. historical present
  36. humane slaughter
  37. icy hot
  38. idiot savant
  39. ill health
  40. impossible solution
  41. intense apathy
  42. joyful sadness
  43. jumbo shrimp
  44. larger half
  45. "lascivious grace"
  46. lead balloon
  47. "liquid marble"
  48. living dead
  49. living end
  50. living sacrifices
  51. loosely sealed
  52. loud whisper
  53. loyal opposition
  54. magic realism
  55. "melancholy merriment"
  56. militant pacifist
  57. minor miracle
  58. negative growth
  59. negative income
  60. old news
  61. one-man band
  62. only choice
  63. openly deceptive
  64. open secret
  65. original copy
  66. overbearingly modest
  67. paper tablecloth
  68. paper towel
  69. peaceful conquest
  70. plastic glasses
  71. plastic silverware
  72. poor health
  73. pretty ugly
  74. properly ridiculous
  75. random order
  76. recorded live
  77. resident alien
  78. sad smile
  79. same difference
  80. "scalding coolness"
  81. seriously funny
  82. shrewd dumbness
  83. silent scream
  84. small crowd
  85. soft rock
  86. "The Sound of Silence"
  87. static flow
  88. steel wool
  89. student teacher
  90. "sweet sorrow"
  91. terribly good
  92. theoretical experience
  93. "transparent night"
  94. true fiction
  95. True Lies
  96. unbiased opinion
  97. unconscious awareness
  98. upward fall
  99. wise fool
  100. working vacation



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