Funny Oxymorons

Military intelligence is a contradiction in terms. Groucho Marx

Funny Oxymoron Examples

English contains a rich supply of figures of speech, but few have as many amusing possibilities as an oxymoron, for example:

  • Dry lake
  • Fuzzy logic
  • Living dead
  • Free Gift
  • Numb sensation
  • Same difference, once again
  • Stand down
  • Metal woods (Golfers)
  • Books on tape
  • Crash landing (As a result of friendly fire from a peacekeeping missile?)
  • Detailed summary
  • Anarchy rules!
  • Park Drive
  • Stationary orbit
  • Jumbo shrimp, followed by vegetarian meatballs, and for dessert, grape nuts.

Cruel Examples of Oxymorons

  • Punk music  (Live recording)
  • Civil servant
  • Gourmet pizza, served by a fast waiter.
  • Airline food
  • User friendly
  • Non-working mother
  • Microsoft Works on a Vista operating system
  • Political Co-operation (Political science)
  • Work party
  • Loners club
  • Labour Party (or Conservative Party or Liberal Party)
  • Silent women, at least not in married life
  • French resistance
  • Swiss navy
  • Greater Cleveland (In UK – Greater Manchester)
  • California style

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 program about turning green oranges into non-stick glue.

Ten Examples of Oxymoron Phrases

  1. A stripper’s dressing room
  2. Click the start button, and shut down
  3. First strike defence
  4. Former President-for-life (Haiti)
  5. Alone in a crowd
  6. Xenophobic Foreign Secretary (Xenophobic = hates strangers)
  7. Personalized form letter
  8. I’d give my right arm to be ambidextrous!
  9. Always remember you’re unique…just like everyone else!
  10. An oral contract isn’t worth the paper it’s 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 monopoly commission?
  • Head butt

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….’

  • Threadless screws
  • Half-round squares
  • Long weights (wait!)
  • Hen’s teeth
  • Eels’ feet
  • Bags of steam
  • Gallons of dehydrated water
  • Left-handed hammers
  • Shelf stretchers
  • Muffler bearings, or piston return springs
  • Sky hooks – low cloud type
  • Bubbles for spirit levels
  • Jars of elbow grease
  • Striped paint
  • Gallons of jet wash

Oxymoron Definitions

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 categories:
a) Pure puns such as gourmet pizza.
b) Accidents, like an original copy.
c) Paradoxes, my favorite 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 oxum┼Źros, which means ‘obviously foolish’, a Latin equivalent 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.

Another Batch of Oxymorons

  • Plastic glasses.
  • Extinct life.
  • Clearly misunderstood.
  • Genuine imitation.
  • Act naturally.
  • Butt-head.

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), incompressible (incapable of co-existing), and Gubernaculum (to the last drop).  But the new edition will include new words such as ‘stooze – to borrow money at a cheap rate.

Onomatopoeic Sounds

Onomatopoeia is a 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.’ Kellogg’s cleverly uses this onomatopoeia in their Rice Krispies adverts.
  • ‘Plink, plink, fizz, fizz’. Alka Seltzer, UK.

Annoying, irritating, and sometimes downright silly expressions added by Will and Guy:

  • Ordinary people. Who is ordinary? Who is not ordinary?
  • Zero tolerance
  • I had no choice
  • In all honesty
  • Abstinence
  • Bipartisan
  • As we speak
  • Arguably
  • 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
  • I’m good

Similar Posts