Definition of OXYMORON
: a combination of contradictory or incongruous words (ascruel kindness); broadly : something (as a concept) that is made up of contradictory or incongruous elements
— ox·y·mo·ron·ic adjective
— ox·y·mo·ron·i·cal·ly adverb
Examples of OXYMORON
- The phrase “cruel kindness” is an oxymoron.
- The phrase “Broadway rock musical” is an oxymoron. Broadway doesn’t have the nerve to let the really hard stuff in the house. —Mark Coleman, Rolling Stone, 26 Dec. 1996/ 9 Jan. 1997
Origin of OXYMORON
Late Greek oxymōron, from neuter of oxymōros pointedly foolish, from Greek oxys sharp, keen + mōros foolish
First Known Use: 1657
Reproduced with thanks from the Merriam-Webster Dictionary.