In the poem, America is metaphorically portrayed as McKay`s unrequited lover, a place of immense beauty and opportunity, but also a place of racism, hatred and violence. This paradoxical history of America is embodied in the oxymoron of “cultivated hell,” which at first appears as a silly phrase, but which, on closer inspection, reveals a clear picture of the nation`s many contradictions. I encourage you to read the rest of the poem to see how McKay treats this oxymoronic love and, in a related sense, how he breathes new life into a very old genre. We`ve already given an oxymoron definition above, so let`s talk about paradoxes here. A paradox is a statement that contradicts itself technically, but is nevertheless true. It may seem illogical or unrealistic, but when you think about it, it`s based on reality and comes from valid reasoning. Consider these paradoxical examples: an oxymoron is a literary device that juxtaposes contradictory concepts. Oxymorons are often used poetically to bring out new meaning in a word or phrase. Like a paradox, an oxymoron is what is called a “contradiction in terms,” although oxymorons and paradoxes are two different things, as explained below.
The word oxymoron is an ancient Greek word that can be translated as “distinctly boring” or “cleverly stupid.” In other words, the definition of oxymoron is itself an oxymoron. Oxymorons offer an ideal opportunity to be smart or funny. The structure inherent in contradictory words is ideal for jokes and other spiritual statements. Consider these examples of oxymorons: placing contrasting words next to each other will make each word stand out more, as will putting contrasting colors together. Highlighting their differences emphasizes their importance and words have a stronger impact. This makes oxymorons a serious option in the choice of words. Being a progressive security marketer shouldn`t be an oxymoron in today`s climate, but it is. What all these oxymorons convey is the strange and crazy mixture of feelings that make up Petrarch`s desire and that structure the way we think about love to this day. As contemporary rhetorician John Cougar Mellencamp sings, “Sometimes love doesn`t feel the way it should, / You do it, hurts so much.” Here are some examples of oxymorons as it is used in various forms of literature. A look at a few examples will help you understand clearly. There are also commonly used oxymorons.
You can also browse them to get a good idea of how they can be trained and used. Similarly, the term “civil war” is sometimes jokingly called “oxymoron” (alluding to the lexical meanings of the word “civilian”).  Now, find out if you correctly identified the oxymoron from the answers below. Oxymorons in the narrow sense are a rhetorical device that is consciously used by the speaker and must be understood as such by the listener. In a broader sense, the term “oxymoron” has also been applied to unintentional or accidental contradictions, as in the case of “dead metaphors” (“scantily dressed” or “terribly good”). Lederer (1990), in the spirit of “recreational linguistics”, goes so far as to construct “logological oxymorons” [jargon] such as reading the word nook of “no” and “ok”, or the surname noyes as composed of “no” plus “yes”, or wacky puns like “divorce court”, “US military intelligence” or “press release”.  There are a number of oxymorons of a word constructed from “dependent morphemes” (i.e. it is no longer a productive compound in English, but borrowed as a compound from another language), as in absurde (lit. “with the Hinder Part before”, cf. Hysteron Proteron, “Upside-Down”, “Head over Heels”, “Ass-Backwards” etc.)  or sopho-more (an artificial Greek compound, lit.
“wise-foolish”). An oxymoron, as we have already seen, is the combination of two contradictory terms. There are a few things to remember when training and using oxymorons in sentences. The first point you need to keep in mind is that you need to combine two opposing words, only then can this be considered an oxymoron. Also, don`t just use two opposite terms. Not all combinations would make sense. You need to carefully analyze which two words would impact your audience. As a rhetorical device, oxymorons have been used in many different media, from political speeches to novels to plays. (One in particular is found in William Shakespeare`s Romeo and Juliet, where “combining things that contrast” is a recurring theme.) Here are some of the most famous examples of oxymorons in historical literature: Let`s slowly rush to an example. One of the states bordering Oregon is Nevada, and in it is the city of Reno. This city, as many of you know, calls itself “The Largest Small Town in the World,” which sounds silly. How to measure the largest small town? This slogan dates back to the early twentieth century, when Reno was still quite small.
But, as the oxymoron suggests at the time, Reno aspired to offer the same “big city” amenities as the dominant megacities of his time – New York, Chicago, Philadelphia, etc. Therefore, the oxymoron is markedly blunt or inappropriate. An oxymoron is a rhetorical device that uses two opposing or contradictory terms one after the other to project an effect. An oxymoron is defined as “a combination of contradictory or incongruous words,” according to the Merriam-Webster dictionary. The Collins dictionary defines an oxymoron as “a phrase in which opposing or contradictory ideas or concepts are combined.” Her own lawyer described her as a highly functional conservator, what conservation experts have called an oxymoron in the conservatory system. W.B. Yeats` poem “Easter 1916,” which describes the Easter Rising in Ireland, contains an oxymoronic refrain of “terrible beauty.” In literary contexts, the author does not usually point to the use of an oxymoron, but in rhetorical usage, it has become customary to explicitly promote the use of an oxymoron to clarify the argument, as in: The term is first called Latinized Greek oxymōrum in Maurus Servius Honoratus (c. 400 AD);  It is derived from the Greek word ὀξύς oksús “sharp, pointed, pointed” and μωρός mōros “boring, stupid, foolish”;  So to speak, “sharp-boring”, “distinctly stupid” or “demonstratively stupid”.  The word oxymoron is autological, that is, it is itself an example of an oxymoron. The Greek compound word ὀξύμωρον oksýmōron, which would correspond to the Latin formation, does not seem to appear in any known ancient Greek work before the formation of the Latin term.  Oxymorons combine contradictory words, but paradoxes combine contradictory ideas.
Usually, oxymorons consist of only two words, but paradoxes are complete sentences, sometimes whole paragraphs. Here are some commonly used oxymorons that were common in the English language. Examples of phrases using these oxymorons have also been given in the following table for reference. Look at her. An oxymoron is a rhetorical device that uses two opposing or contradictory terms one after the other to project an effect. According to the Oxford Learner`s Dictionary, oxymoron is defined as “a phrase that combines two words that appear to be opposite to each other.” The Cambridge Dictionary defines an oxymoron as “two words or phrases used together that have or appear to have opposite meanings”. An oxymoron (commonly oxymoron plural, less commonly oxymoron) is a phrase that juxtaposes concepts with opposite meanings in a word or phrase that creates an apparent self-contradiction. An oxymoron can be used as a rhetorical device to illustrate a rhetorical point or discover a paradox.   A more general meaning of “contradiction per se” (not necessarily for rhetorical effects) is recorded by the OED for 1902.  Take the oxymoron Deafening Silence, for example. On its own, silence is quite neutral – it can be calm or tense, depending on the context. But the combination with a deafening voice gives silence a very pronounced meaning and compares it to a loud noise that attracts extra attention.
This presents the word silence in a unique and particularly expressive way. The main difference between an oxymoron and a paradox is that oxymorons use contradictory words while paradoxes use contradictory ideas. An oxymoron is usually just two words (sometimes one, as in “bittersweet”), but a paradox is an entire statement, usually a standalone sentence or even an entire paragraph.