Whatever form you choose to use, one thing is certain: Oxymorons attract attention. And people who like to pepper their conversations with these literary devices are well aware that their listeners will stop and think, wondering whether they should laugh or not.
A popular oxymoron is the expression “same difference.” Two words with completely opposite meanings come together to produce a verbally puzzling, but intriguing effect.
Other common oxymorons include jumbo shrimp, cruel to be kind, random order, open secret, act naturally, farewell reception, painfully beautiful, and passive aggressive.
Some of my favorite oxymorons include planned spontaneity, linear pantser, noticeable absence, quiet presence, and pontificatory salvos.
The following quotations make excellent use of oxymorons:
“A joke is a serious issue.” Winston Churchill
“We’re busy doing nothing.” Bing Crosby
“A business that makes nothing but money is a poor business.” Henry Ford
“Anyone who does not believe in miracles is not a realist.” Audrey Hepburn
“Experts are clueless.” Steve Jobs
“If you don’t risk anything, you risk even more.” Erica Jong
“I like a smuggler. He is the only honest thief.” Charles Lamb
“I have never let my schooling interfere with my education.” Mark Twain
“I am a deeply superficial person.” Andy Warhol
“I can resist anything, except temptation.” Oscar Wilde
Do you have a favorite oxymoron to share?
Where to find Joanne Guidoccio…