Oxymorons can be fun. Two words that can have contradictory meaning are put together to create a new phrase. Or it can be expanded to mean two separate thoughts or ideas that are in direct conflict with each other but when combined create something new.

For example, if you’ve ever worked in a cubicle you can see the humor in the description “office space.”

Please try to avoid using them in your novel or non-fiction work. Like clichés they can make you sound kind of silly. Unless you are Shakespeare who wrote in Romeo and Juliet, “Parting is such sweet sorrow.” Then you sound brilliant.  Also in that same play he wrote, “O brawling love! O loving hate! . . .O heavy lightness! serious vanity! Misshapen chaos of well-seeming forms! Feather of lead, bright smoke, cold fire, sick health! Still-waking sleep, that is not what it is! This love feel I, that feel no love in this.”

Even historians created one that is a head scratcher when you think about it. The Civil War. How can war be civil?

You, as someone who is serious about their craft, need to watch out for ones that have become part of our everyday speech like “ill health” or “passive aggressive” or “random order” or “found missing.” You get the idea.

There is a web site that has a list of hundreds of oxymorons: www.oxymoronlist.com

Enjoy this clever two minute video on the topic. And make sure to watch passed the credits through to the end.

8 Responses to Oxymorons

  1. Avatar
    Mark Hancock January 28, 2011 at 7:47 am #

    Thanks, Steve. I needed this heavy lightness today.

  2. Avatar
    Steve Laube January 28, 2011 at 8:18 am #

    Is anyone wearing a Medium Large shirt today?

    Is it wicked good?

  3. Avatar
    M.E. Anders January 29, 2011 at 5:24 am #

    That video clip was entertaining and a bit educational. Thanks for sharing these tips.

  4. Avatar
    henya January 29, 2011 at 7:20 am #

    Thanks Steve. Was good to hear that. Always thought oxymorons made one look smart. What do you know…

  5. Avatar
    Peg Brantley January 29, 2011 at 8:01 am #

    Huh, if ‘dimwit’ was ‘dim wit’ I’d be able to add one without my first cup of coffee.

    Thanks, Steve. Got my brain cells out of their morning mud bath.

  6. Avatar
    A J Hawke January 29, 2011 at 8:06 am #

    Enjoyed and learned.I forwarded it on to some high school and college friends.

  7. Avatar
    Melinda Evaul January 29, 2011 at 8:46 am #

    Okay, my brain will search its data banks all day for others. Thanks for the weblink.

  8. Avatar
    Kathy Whittam January 30, 2011 at 7:19 pm #

    My personal favorite: genuine faux.

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