OXYMORONS consist of two contrasting words that when put together, create meaning beyond the literal definitions of each word.
In fact, the word itself is an oxymoron, with oxy meaning sharp and moron meaning foolish! Let's examine five of these opposing pairs, and I'll happily provide my interpretation.
CLEARLY CONFUSED: clear = understandable; confused = perplexed
This implies obviously confused.
DEAFENING SILENCE: deafening = booming; silence = quiet, calm
---This implies uncomfortable silence and recalls the saying, "Silence speaks louder than words."
SMALL CROWD: small = little, few; crowd = a whole bunch of people
This implies a smaller than expected crowd or a small gathering of people.
OPEN SECRET: open = not shut, direct; secret = confidential
This implies a secret everyone seems to know, which sadly, is not a secret anymore.
RANDOM ORDER: random = arbitrary; order = systematic
This implies a random sort, like a lottery. While being picked can lead to riches, THE HUNGER GAMES books and movies illustrate the dystopian dark side of being picked. Think of the myriad of plot possibilities for your creative story!
Try to drum up more oxymorons your own. Or if you like, you can find a larger list of oxymorons on Your Dictionary.com.
I hope you enjoyed this intriguing Spoonful of Grammar. I wish you all a safe and enjoyable week ahead.
Laura Fineberg Cooper