noun, plural ox·y·mo·ra [ok-si-mawr–uh, –mohr–uh] /ˌɒk sɪˈmɔr ə, -ˈmoʊr ə/, ox·y·mor·ons. Rhetoric.
- a figure of speech by which a locution produces an incongruous, seemingly self-contradictory effect, as in “cruel kindness” or “to make haste slowly.”
noun plural -mora (-ˈmɔːrə)
- rhetoric an epigrammatic effect, by which contradictory terms are used in conjunctionliving death; fiend angelical
n.1650s, from Greek oxymoron, noun use of neuter of oxymoros (adj.) “pointedly foolish,” from oxys “sharp” (see acrid) + moros “stupid” (see moron). Rhetorical figure by which contradictory terms are conjoined so as to give point to the statement or expression; the word itself is an illustration of the thing. Now often used loosely to mean “contradiction in terms.” Related: Oxymoronic. A rhetorical device in which two seemingly contradictory words are used together for effect: “She is just a poor little rich girl.”