Oxymoron Figure of Speech

Figures of speech are literary devices which are used to convey ideas that go beyond their literal meaning. In English, there are more than 200 different types of figures of speech.

Oxymoron Figure of Speech is one of them.


Oxymoron Figure of Speech Meaning

An oxymoron is a figure of speech where two opposing words are conjoined. This conjoining of opposing words may seem ridiculous if literally interpreted, but it may be meaningful if it is figuratively understood.

  • Seriously joking – The words ‘joking‘ and ‘serious‘ are contrasting, but they are brought together to mean that someone was actually joking.
  • Bittersweet – The word is made of contrasting adjectives ‘bitter‘ and ‘sweet‘. Both are conjoined to refer to a taste which is both bitter and sweet.

Oxymoron Figure of Speech Examples

Following are some famous examples of Oxymorons:

heavy lightness! Serious vanity!
Mis-shapen chaos of well-seeming forms!
Feather of lead, bright smokecold firesick health
—Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet

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“I am a deeply superficial person.”
Andy Warhol


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“Why then, O brawling love, O loving hate
—Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet

“And lined the train with faces grimly gay
Wilfred Owen, The Send-Off

“And faith unfaithful kept him falsely true.”
Alfred Tennyson

“conventionally unconventional, suggesting a tortuous spontaneity
Henry James, The Lesson of the Master

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