Monday, April 18, 2011

O is for Oxymoron

With a definite maybe I agreed to participate in the A-Z Blogging Challenge. Surprisingly, I've kept up so far. I'm terribly pleased. And today marks another week and another string of alphabetic posts. I'm almost exactly where I need to be and when I make this O-post, I'll be right on track.

Did you guess what I'm writing about from the intro? There are 3 examples. Okay, the title of the post makes it painfully obvious but would you have guessed anyway? Can you find the examples?

Today's writerly word is oxymoron (plural, oxymora).

Oxymoron is a phrase in which two (or more) incongruous words are used in conjunction to highlight an apparent contradiction.  When used effectively, a well placed literary oxymoron reveals a deeper truth through it's contradiction.

Shakespeare was masterful in his use of oxymora. Examples include:
  • Romeo & Juliet: sweet sorrow 
  • A Midsummer Night's Dream: tragical mirth 
  • Julius Caesar: fearful bravery

Some oxymora are so frequently used they become part of everyday language. Examples:
  • Good grief
  • Act natural
  • Found missing
  • Small crowd
  • Pretty ugly
  • Working vacation
  • Clearly misunderstood

Yeah, I love a good oxymoron because, you know, I'm a sophisticated redneck.

PS. You may find this interesting: P is for Paradox: What is the Difference Between a Paradox and an Oxymoron?

Source: Literary Terms and Definitions 


  1. Like that old joke. Her momma said she was pretty. Her daddy said she was ugly. So they argued until they agreed that she was pretty ugly.

  2. I love oxymora (I really want to say oxymorons) and you listed some great examples.

    A-Z Fellow Challenger
    Holly Ruggiero’s POV

  3. I like charm offensive, and the old favourite, military intelligence.

  4. Oh good grief I love this word!

  5. if you're a sophisticated redneck, what do you do with your Christmas lights? And, where do you buy your lingerie? The Family Dollar Store, perhaps? Maybe Target. Do tell me.

  6. I forgot oxymoron when I did my 'O' post! I love it! How about "an honest politician"? LOL

  7. Ah, ya gotta love the oxymoron. I have chosen you for an award. You can pick your award up here :)

  8. Love the post - and oxymorons. By the way, a "sophisticated redneck" for those that don't know, serves RC Cola on ice with Chicken In A Biscuit Crackers and Cheese Whiz as appetizers... =D

  9. Oxymorons are so much fun! Great post. Stopping by as part of the A to Z challenge :)

  10. Great post -- one of my favorite poetry terms!

  11. Fun post. There are some really great Oxymorons.

  12. Great examples -- that was very fun.

  13. It's true you learn something new every day - I wasn't aware that the plural of oxymoron was oxymora. Great post, gotta love a good oxymoron! ;-)

  14. Great examples of oxymorons! Thanks for the hard research! :)


  15. Hi Langley! Stopping by on the A-Z Challenge, glad to have found your blog. Great post!

  16. Great examples. This is something that can be used for unusual effects in literature/has been used to great effect by Shakespeare, as you've pointed out.

    Nice to meet you through the A to Z, though I had to drop out early because of a daughter's neck surgery. But I'm now back to posting my regular 2 or 3 times a week.
    Ann Carbine Best, Long Journey Home

  17. 'Found missing' makes me want to hurl.

  18. "Sophisticated redneck" makes me wish Shakespeare were still around, just to see how he would have worked that one into one of his plays. Perhaps in an update to "Mid- Summer" called "An After- Thanksgiving Sale at Walmart" ;)

  19. Love oxymorons. Always amuse me to try to think some up or find a list.

  20. Jumbo shrimp!

    My “O” post:

  21. I love oxymora - especially when people don't realize what they said.

    ^_^ I'm normally weird like that.


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