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It’s a great word isn’t it, and even sounds as if it could be used as an insult. haha.   

Actually, an oxymoron is formed when two words combine to make a phrase which is true, yet seems also a paradox. Eg: ‘Invisible ink.

Other phrases, which play on the ambiguity of one of the words to comically highlight an apparent contradiction, are also included in this list although technically they are not oxymorons (or oxymora, as some still insist).  Eg: ‘civil war’.

We use many of these phrases frequently and don’t stop to think of the paradox or contradiction the word combination implies.  Language can be funny!

Anyway, these are the best I’ve found on my travels in the witty world of wordplay.   I guess you use many of them yourself,  I do!


Definite Maybe

Same Difference

Pretty Ugly

open secret

virtual reality

deafening silence

seriously funny

new classic

absolutely unsure

accurate estimate

act naturally

adult children

alone together

awfully nice

barely dressed

bitter sweet

almost exactly

constant change

essentially useless

far closer

fast food

feeling numb

flying boat

foreign national

ill health

incredibly real

industrial park

normal deviation

found missing

resident alien

living dead

passive aggression

tight slacks

working vacation

cool passion

growing smaller

jumbo shrimp

larger half

original copy

random order

baggy tights

bankrupt millionaire

beyond infinity

concrete jungle

Dodge Ram

graphic language

irate patient

long shorts

pronounced silence

single pair

tense calm

uninvited guest

unusual routine

anxious patient

water vapor

utter silence

regular special

liquid gas

sweet sorrow

plastic glasses

small crowd

clearly confused


Oxymorons are so ingrained in our speech that I bet there were a couple you had to ponder for a moment before the contradiction became obvious.  😉


Look for all my wordplay posts on:

 Palindromes, Anagrams, Spoonerisms, Pangrams and the Oxymoron.