oxymoron

Definitions

  • WordNet 3.6
    • n oxymoron conjoining contradictory terms (as in `deafening silence')
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Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
    • n Oxymoron (Rhet) A figure in which an epithet of a contrary signification is added to a word; e. g., cruel kindness; laborious idleness.
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Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
    • n oxymoron In rhetoric, a figure consisting in adding to a word an epithet or qualification apparently contradictory; in general, close connection of two words seemingly opposed to each other (as, cruel kindness; to make haste slowly); an expression made epigrammatic or pointed by seeming self-contradictory.
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Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
    • n Oxymoron ok-si-mō′ron a figure of speech, by means of which two ideas of opposite meaning are combined, so as to form an expressive phrase or epithet, as cruel kindness, falsely true, &c.
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Etymology

Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
NL., fr. Gr. , fr. pointedly foolish; 'oxy`s sharp + mwro`s foolish
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
Gr.,—oxys, sharp, mōros, foolish.

Usage

In literature:

Who ever composed with greater spirit and elegance because he could define an oxymoron or an aposiopesis?
"Life and Letters of Lord Macaulay" by George Otto Trevelyan
The Balkan is the eternal hunting grounds of oxymorons, tautologies and logical fallacies.
"After the Rain" by Sam Vaknin
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In news:

Some might say a Black Mormon is like a diet ice cream, an oxymoron.
10 pm $100 cash left in an oxymoronically unlocked locker at a health club was sticky-fingered.
In reviewing international investments in 1998, the term emerging markets seems like an oxymoron.
Vacations are an oxymoron to relaxation.
The very idea of Experimental Cinema in Los Angeles is almost an oxymoron.
On Samsung, Palestine, the ITU, a tax on finance, utilitarianism , Russia, Turkey, Steve Jobs, French, oxymorons.
Washington ethics has become such an oxymoron that ethics reform usually draws a yawn , but it shouldn't this time.
The spring training season opened with a bang, as Prince Fielder got a Barry Zito fastball (an oxymoron, I know) right in the square of the back.
Conventional wisdom no oxymoron.
Japanese Art Deco sounds like an oxymoron.
Here are a few observations on the Astros' offense (is that an oxymoron?).
Of all the slogans chanted and displayed at anti-Israel rallies over the past month, surely "Queers for Palestine " ranks as the most oxymoronic.
To those who have never heard of them, much less tasted them, the three words sound like an oxymoron, the setup line of yet another weary Jersey joke.
THE NEW FORTY Victimless crime I believe that the term "victimless crime" is an oxymoron.
The term "practical perfectionist" might seem an oxymoron, but for Jason Smith, it's a way of life.
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In science:

This paper presents the first polynomial time constructions of approximate quantum encryption schemes (to relish the oxymoron: derandomized randomization protocols).
Small Pseudo-Random Families of Matrices: Derandomizing Approximate Quantum Encryption
This might seem oxymoronic, since at large α random k-sat formulæ are unsat with probability 1.
Theoretical analysis of optimization problems - Some properties of random k-SAT and k-XORSAT
As a result ‘applied algebraic topology’ is no longer an oxymoron, and although it is true that at this point sophisticated applications are still few and far between, there is a growing feeling that the gap between theory and practice is closing.
Persistent Homology for Random Fields and Complexes
In classical computation, a “write-only memory” (WOM) is little more than an oxymoron, and the addition of WOM to a (deterministic or probabilistic) classical computer brings no advantage.
Quantum computation with devices whose contents are never read
As a result, the two Killing vector fields represent two completely different causal structures, and hence, if we insist on implementing them, the final state corresponding to Eq. (4.14) would involve some oxymoronic notion such as ‘superposition of two distinct causalities’.
Why the Quantum Must Yield to Gravity
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