Oxymoron | Literary Term - Definition, Characteristic and Examples | Learning The Easy Way


Oxymoron is an important figure of speech in which two contradictory words are put together or side by side. For example "He is the only honest thief." In this sentence, we find two contradictory words "honest" and "thief" which are put together or side by side.

Oxymoron is a very common device. It is related to Antithesis and Paradox. It was very popular in the late 16th centaury and during  17th centaury.

Examples of Oxymoron from everyday life:

Run slowly
Original copy
Virtual reality
Liquid gas
Seriously funny
Open secret
Tragic comedy
Big baby

Examples of Oxymoron according to English Literature:

We find a famous example in "Romeo and Juliet". That is 

Here's much to do with hate, but more with love.
why then, O brawling love! O loving hate!
O anything! of nothing first create!
O heavy lightness! serious vanity!
Mis-shapen chaos of well-seeming forms!

We find another well-known example of Milton's description hell in "Paradise Lost":

No light, but rather darkness visible

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