oxymoron definition

  • noun:
    • A rhetorical figure where incongruous or contradictory terms tend to be combined, like in a deafening silence and a mournful optimist.
    • A figure of message where two words with opposing meanings are used collectively intentionally for impact.
    • A contradiction in terms.
    • A figure which an epithet of a contrary signification is put into a word; e. g., cruel kindness; laborious idleness.
    • In rhetoric, a figure consisting in contributing to a word an epithet or certification evidently contradictory; as a whole, close link of two words apparently in opposition to both (because, cruel kindness; to produce haste slowly); an expression made epigrammatic or pointed by appearing self-contradictory.
    • conjoining contradictory terms (as with `deafening silence')

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