Examples of Oxymorons and What they Mean!


What is an oxymoron?

An oxymoron is usually two words with opposite meanings, like “old news,” “alone together,” or “seriously funny.” The word oxymoron is an ancient Greek word, which translates most closely to something like “sharply dull” or “cleverly stupid.” In speech oxymorons can give a sense of humor, irony, or sarcasm.

Take this sentence, for example:

“This was a minor crisis and the only choice was to cancel the product line,”.

There are two oxymorons in this sentence: “minor crisis” and “only choice.”

If you’re learning English as a second language, you might be confused right now.

If you have a closer look they stand in conflict with each other. A crisis is defined as a time of serious difficulty. Which means no crisis is unimportant or minor. Similarly, “choice” means more than one option, which is the exact opposite of “only.”

Examples of Oxymorons

  1. accurate estimate
  2. alone together
  3. awfully good
  4. bittersweet
  5. climb down
  6. close distance
  7. grow smaller
  8. only option
  9. original copy
  10. passive-aggressive
  11. same difference
  12. seriously funny
  13. small crowd
  14. virtual reality
  15. cheerful pessimist
  16. civil war
  17. clearly misunderstood
  18. cool passion
  19. crash landing
  20. cruel kindness
  21. deafening silence
  22. definitely maybe
  23. dull roar
  24. exact estimate
  25. falsely true
  26. found missing
  27. freezer burn
  28. friendly takeover
  29. genuine imitation
  30. good grief
  31. growing smaller
  32. guest host
  33. historical present
  34. humane slaughter
  35. icy hot
  36. impossible solution
  37. joyful sadness
  38. larger half
  39. living dead
  40. loud whisper
  41. loyal opposition
  42. magic realism
  43. negative growth
  44. old news
  45. one-man band
  46. only choice
  47. open secret
  48. paper towel
  49. plastic glasses
  50. poor health
  51. pretty ugly
  52. random order
  53. sad smile
  54. same difference
  55. seriously funny
  56. small crowd
  57. soft rock
  58. terribly good
  59. theoretical experience
  60. true fiction

Oxymorons Examples in a sentences

  • The guy was seriously funny.
  • Do you have the original copies that we asked for?
  • Her new boyfriend is pretty ugly.
  • My trip to Hawaii was primarily a working holiday.
  • Be cautious on the playground, run slowly.

Can you think of any examples of oxymorons? Leave a comment below.

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