Recently I came across an article on “oxymorons” and decided to write a post about them. For those of you unfamiliar with the term – as was pointed out in the article, the rhetorical term oxymoron is made up of two Greek words which mean sharp and dull and that in and of itself is oxymoronic.
You may recall from your high school English class, an oxymoron is a compressed paradox: a figure of speech wherein seemingly contradictory terms appear side by side. Allow me to provide you with an example: “Jumbo Fried Shrimp.”
Seeing that I do not sleep much, I wondered if there was an oxymoron associated with the word insomnia. Sure enough, a comedian from long ago – W.C.Fields used an oxymoron when describing a cure for insomnia. His statement was: “The best cure for insomnia is to get a lot of sleep!”
If there is one thing we writers know – it is that oxymorons are part of our everyday speech. Think about it – take a look back in history as well as what is happening in many other countries in the world today. What is going on in them – Civil wars!
Did you ever find yourself in a conversation with say a colleague or it might have even been a relative and during the course of the conversation, the other party said to you: “You clearly misunderstood me.”
Or here is one, you are sitting on the couch watching an action movie when the pilot of the plane in the movie looks back at the passengers (back in the days when the passengers could see the pilot in the cockpit) and says: Prepare yourselves for a Crash landing! Let me take this scenario one step further – when the movie is over – you look at your partner and exclaim, “That movie was awful good!”
And then there are some oxymorons that just blow my mind – like exactly what is a Devout atheist? Or you need some work done on your house and the contractor that comes by to provide you with a quote to do the work says: “This is an Exact estimate!” What’s with that – is it exact or an estimate?
Or you pick up your newspaper and the headlines reads: Seven-year old child was found missing this morning. Was he or she found or is he or she still missing?
Well, hopefully with my Shrewd dumbness you found this post seriously funny. Should you care to comment on this weekly attempt to make even just one of you smile or laugh, I would welcome your unbiased opinion!
Until next time!