What Is an Oxymoron? (with Examples)
OxymoronAn oxymoron is a term in which two contradictory terms are combined.
The plural of "oxymoron" is "oxymorons" or "oxymora," but "oxymorons" is far more popular [evidence].
Easy Examples of Oxymorons
- Act naturally (Acting means you're not being natural.)
- Non-working mother (Being a mother involves a lot of work.)
- Fresh raisins (Raisins are dried-out grapes.)
More Examples of OxymoronsOften, it is debatable whether the contradictory terms in an oxymoron are truly contradictory. Often, they are not. Here are some well-known oxymorons that have only partially contradictory terms.
- dull shine
- female gunman
- jumbo shrimp
- plastic glasses
- Four-ounce pound cake
- Non-prosaic prose ("Prosaic" is the adjective of prose, which is normal text as opposed to poetry and verse. The term "non-prosaic prose" looks like an oxymoron, but it isn't because "prosaic" can also mean ordinary, everyday, or boring. So, they're just two interesting words that translate, literally, as interesting words.)
Why Should I Care about Oxymorons?
Encourage your readers to ponder your concept.Oxymorons are not usually mistakes. The contradictory elements are often deliberate to cause the reader to pause and ponder the concept.
- Deafening silence (This classic oxymoron describes an uncomfortable silence – as uncomfortable as someone screaming. It's a thought-provoking phrase.)