What is an oxymoron?

Alina Olkhovich
Alina Olkhovich
1 March 2013
What is an oxymoron?

Not so long ago we all celebrated Old New Year. Few people thought that the name of this famous holiday is what is called the intricate word "oxymoron". And what is an oxymoron, actually?

Oxymoron (translated from the Greek "oxymoron" - "ridiculous nonsense", "sharply absurd") is a kind of trail, which consists in combining contrasting, opposite in meaning words. This creates a new semantic quality, an unexpected expressive effect (for example, "ice fire", "light darkness", "scary fun," etc.).

This stylistic figure is most often used in artistic texts to create an unusual, memorable image. For example:

“I make funny poems

On the life of perishable, perishable and beautiful "

Anna Akhmatova


“My husband is a hangman,

and his house is a prison

Anna Akhmatova

In addition, we use an oxymoron in everyday life, sometimes without even noticing it: “terribly beautiful”, “courageous woman”, “steel nerves”, “sweet bitterness”, “sad laughter”, “deafening silence”, “fallen angel " and many others.

Also much less often this trail is used in journalism (an imperious mess, complex simplicity, an artificial person).

Most vividly, of course, the functions of an oxymoron are displayed in bright, catchy names of various books and films. Here, for example, are the books: “The Unbearable Lightness of Being” by M. Kundera, “The Dead Souls” by N. Gogol, “The Living Corpse” by L. Tolstoy, “The Honest Thief” by F. Dostoevsky, “The Living Power” by I. Turgenev, “Hot Snow "Y. Bondareva; films: "Ordinary miracle", "Back to the Future", "Eyes Wide Shut", "True False".

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