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An oxymoron ( plural Oxymora ; ancient Greek τὸ ὀξύμωρον , from oxys 'sharp (meaningful)' and moros 'stupid') is a rhetorical figure in which a formulation is formed from two opposing, contradicting or mutually exclusive terms, e.g. B. " old boy ". Often, Oxymora are coined in the form of twin formulas. Single words, terms and even one or more whole sentences can form an oxymoron. The stylistic device is used, for example, to achieve dramatic enhancement effects or to force the hardly expressive or even the unspeakable into a pair of opposites and thus to express them.

The antonym to Oxymoron is pleonasm ("coal coal black").


The inner contradiction of an oxymoron is deliberate and serves the pointed representation of an ambiguous, ambiguous or multi-layered content by conceptually reflecting the as well as the facts. As a stylistic figure, the oxymoron is therefore important in poetry and poetic prose , but can also be found in political discourse and in advertising . The word oxymoron itself is already an oxymoron. A logical contradiction that is formulated without intention is called in Latin contradictio in adiecto (German: "contradiction in the attachment").


See also

Web links

Commons : Oxymoron  - collection of images, videos and audio files
Wiktionary: Oxymoron  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. Gero von Wilpert : Subject Dictionary of Literature (= Kröner's pocket edition , Volume 231). 4th, improved and enlarged edition. Kröner, Stuttgart 1964, p. 483, DNB 455687854 .
  2. Jochen A. Bär : Oxymoron . ( Memento from August 19, 2017 in the Internet Archive ) baer-linguistik.de, The Year of Words - Episode 81 (March 22); accessed on November 2, 2018