English contains a rich supply of figures of speech, but few have as many
amusing possibilities as an oxymoron, for example:
Same difference, once again
Metal woods (Golfers)
Books on tape
Crash landing (As a result of friendly fire from a peacekeeping missile?)
Jumbo shrimp, followed by vegetarian meatballs, and for desert, grape
Cruel Examples of Oxymorons
Will and Guy recommend Flocks, Herds, Litters & Schools by Jim McMullan
Punk music (Live recording)
Gourmet pizza, served by a fast waiter.
Microsoft Works on a Vista operating system
Political Co-operation (Political science)
Labour Party (or Conservative Party or Liberal Party)
Silent women, at least not in married life
Greater Cleveland (In UK - Greater Manchester)
Over-the-top Oxymoron Example
I can picture my friend 'Barking' Eddie, it's a pretty ugly sight. I see him
half naked, sipping non-alcoholic beer from his plastic glass. Then
from time-to-time he nibbles on his cold hotdog, which is smothered in hot
chili sauce. For pudding Eddie will be having freezer burnt, white
chocolate, ice cream, with a plain fudge topping. Next week Eddie is
organizing a working party for Hell's angels. This is a new tradition,
they will be spending a whole half-day on the top floor of his low-rise
office. They are hoping to watch a live recording of a programme about
turning green oranges into non-stick glue.
Always remember you're unique...just like everyone else!
An oral contract isn't worth the paper its written on
Another Batch of Amusing Oxymorons
Freezer burn, caused by liquid gas, created an anxious patient
Open secret - clearly confused
Found missing - minor crisis averted
Tight slacks - Pretty ugly
We climbed down into a blocked drain
Soft rock, as shown on educational television
Monopoly (Mono Poly?) And why is there only one monopolies
Funny Joke Requests -
Examples of Oxymorons at Work
Here are funny requests that are often given to newbies, or as part of
initiative rites for new employees. Other names for this mischief include:
fool's errand, snipe hunt or a wild goose chase. You can picture the scenario, 'Hey Sonny, go down to the stores and ask Joe for a dozen
Long weights (wait!)
Bags of steam
Gallons of dehydrated water
Muffler bearings, or a piston return springs
Sky hooks - low cloud type
Bubbles for spirit levels
Jars of elbow grease
Gallons of jet wash
The dictionary definition of oxymoron is:- A rhetorical figure of speech in which contradictory
terms are paired, for example, alone together, current history or boneless ribs.
However, with an oxymoron the incongruous word pairing conveys a truth or a dramatic result. It is possible to sub-divide English oxymorons into three main
a) Pure puns such as gourmet
b) Accidents, like an original copy.
c) Paradoxes, my
favourite example is 'serious joke'. d) An alternative zany definition for an oxymoron: One who forgets to
breathe! The word oxymoron is derived
from the Greek oxumōros, which means 'obviously foolish', a Latin
equivelent would be: contradictio in terminis. Incidentally, the related word
sideroxylon specifically refers to a mismatch between the noun and its adjective, e.g.
cold fire. As I ponder the word oxymoron, I cannot decide which plural is the better Oxymora
or oxymorons. I also cannot get the syllable 'moron' out of my mind. Footnote: Now that you are alerted to the humour in oxymorons, I hope that you
will spot them on
advertising hoardings, in newspaper headlines, and on T.V. If you see
an good examples, then please send them to us: For example Look at the giant midget settle on the
jumbo shrimp [Sent by Johnathan C]
Student teacher [Several ex-pupils
force [Zara E, who calls it an oximoron]
Another Batch of Oxymorons
Funny and Strange Words
Reported in The Scotsman newspaper by Aura Sabadus: Mallemaroking may not be a word that crops up often in everyday conversation, but a prestigious reference book based in Edinburgh is fighting to save it, along with other quirky entries. The expression,
which means 'carousing of seamen in ice-bound ships', is on a save list compiled by the Chambers Dictionary in an attempt to preserve linguistic heritage, and to amuse Scrabblers
or crossword setters. Ian
Brookes, the dictionary's
editor, said the publication, 'resisted the temptation to toss words out, even if that meant adding more pages'. He added: 'Some of the words have a certain relish about them and it
would be sad to lose them. The Chambers Dictionary is one of the few reference books to preserve such words.' Mr Brookes said rare words were often looked up by people drawing up family trees. Also on the
save list are jobernowl (blockhead), logodaedalus (someone skilled in the manipulative use of words), incompossible (incapable of co-existing) and supernaculum (to the last drop). But the new edition, will include new words such as 'stooze'
- to borrow money at a cheap rate.
Onomatopoeia is figure of speech where the word sounds like the thing that it is
describing. For example, 'Miaow' 'moo', or 'slosh'. Here are
examples from advertising.
'Snap crackle pop.'
use this onomatopoeia in their Rice Krispies adverts.
'Plink, plink, fizz, fizz'.
Alka Seltzer, UK.
See more Onomatopoeic
Annoying, irritating and sometimes downright silly expressions added by
Will and Guy:
Ordinary people. Who is ordinary? Who is not ordinary?
I had no choice
In all honesty
As we speak
Level playing field
Someone once said [often followed by an obscure quotation]
Just doing my job
Have a nice day
Hindsight is 20/20
Don't go there
Footnote: Please send us your funny oxymoron examples.
See more funny English words and phrases
Oxymoron examples •
Funny Words •
Paraprosdokian jokes • Funny proverbs •
Examples of collective nouns
Engrish PPTs •
Onomatopoeia Examples •
Funny Anagrams •
A funny word •
Grammar mistakes •
Word jokes •
Illogical English •
Funny English words