All of us keep running into people who say that “happily married” is just an oxymoron. Notwithstanding the obvious gender connotation there, one just ends as laughing at the very thought. So what is an oxymoron? The dictionary defines it as a figure of speech by which a locution produces an incongruous, seemingly self-contradictory effect. In simple terms, this figure of speech juxtaposes two words that have seemingly opposite meanings or are antonyms, creating a quasi paradox which could range from plain incongruous to extremely funny. In fact, oxymoronic humour is considered as one of the most sophisticated forms of humour since not many people are able to read between the lines. For instance one comedian was noted to have said “Last month I blew $5,000 on a reincarnation seminar. I figured, hey, you only live once.” Even poet John Donne wrote in his Devotion Upon Emergent Occasions, “O miserable abundance, O beggarly riches!” For ages, oxymorons have been used to describe scenes as incongruous, funny, or just out of the box. Also, there are times when we do not even realise that an oxymoron is used, which states how common that phrase has become – for instance the phrase “unbiased opinion.” Here are a few examples of oxymoron, some common ones, and some comic ones.
Examples Of Oxymoron
Here are some common as well as funny oxymora that we keep running into all the time:
Some oxymorons are so common that often people see nothing wrong with them and may not even recognise them as oxymorons. Here are the most common examples of oxymorons
- One often uses the word “Bittersweet” to describe, say, a moment of parting between lovers or friends.
- While describing someone who is pretentious, we often say that the person is a “real phony”.
- With some, there’s nothing really wrong or different, but they qualify as oxymora just by the juxtaposition of seemingly opposite meaning words. A perfect example is “cold hotdog”.
- An extremely common example would be “terribly good”.
- Or, one can also mention “awfully pretty.”
- This one particularly doesn’t sit well – “born dead.”
- This one is not only an oxymoron, but also qualifies as a pun – “barely dressed”.
- Another common one – “Calculated risk.”
- One of the first Muslim Emperors to rule India was known as the “wisest fool”.
- Some people like to use the phrase “casual formality” for being nice to their neighbours.
- Packaged and preservative-laden foods often come with the label of “canned fresh”.
- Another common example of an oxymoron and a pun – “Civil disobedience”.
- Health freaks, beware. “Diet cola” and “Diet chips” are just oxymora.
- Many people have been asked to write a “detailed summary” of their work.
- And finally, we run into these almost every day – “fairly accurate”, “same difference” and “exact estimate.”
There are times when we run into oxymorons that are funny as well as one often wonders as to why they are used together. Here are some funny oxymorons:
- Have you heard someone being described as “mildly psychotic?”
- This may sound rather anti-feminist but is not – “Happily married”.
- Another one – “Marital bliss.”
- No offences to anyone, but – “mild mannered reporter”.
- Who can forget actor Ajit threatening to throw a traitor into “Liquid oxygen”.
- Here’s a tricky one “Monopoly”. It’s made up of ‘mono’ and ‘poly’. Got it?
- Right before interviews or before a man makes up his mind to ask a girl out, friends tell him to “Act naturally”; wonder how people do that anyway.
- Many husbands and wives who have generally grown tired of each other are often said to have opted for an “amicable divorce. Who are they fooling anyway?
- When the Vacuum cleaner needs a new bag, because the old one is too full, people often tend to say that they have a “Full vacuum”.
- People cite examples of old style songs and refer to them as “Classic rock and roll”.
- Many a comedian or standup comic has been described as “Seriously funny”.
- Many of us must have run into people who claim to be able to give an “Unbiased opinion” on everything under the sun.
- And, finally, most comedians who have used oxymoronic humour have been “Clearly misunderstood.”