What is the entomology of "oxymoron"? Why is "moron" at the end of the word?

5 Answers

  • 1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    because the "morons" who use these terms are...well...morons

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  • 1 decade ago

    It's actually etymology, entomology is the study of insects. Oxymoron means conjoining contradictory terms, like deafening silence and it has nothing to do with the word moron.

    Jules, Australia.

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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    An oxymoron (plural oxymora or, more commonly, oxymorons) (noun) is a figure of speech that combines two normally contradictory terms (e.g. "deafening silence") to make a point. Oxymoron is a Greek term derived from oxy ("sharp") and moros ("dull" or "dumb" ), which means the word is an oxymoron. Another, similar oxymoron is sophomore, meaning "wise fool".

    Oxymorons are a proper subset of the expressions called contradiction in terms. What distinguishes oxymora from other paradoxes and contradictions is that they are used intentionally, for rhetorical effect, and the contradiction is only apparent, as the combination of terms provides a novel expression of some concept, such as "cruel to be kind".

    The most common form of oxymoron involves an adjective–noun combination. For example, the following line from Tennyson's Idylls of the King contains two oxymora:

    "And faith unfaithful kept him falsely true"

    In popular usage, the term oxymoron is sometimes used more loosely, in the sense of a simple contradiction in terms. Often, it is then applied to expressions which, unlike real oxymora, are used in full earnest and without any sense of paradox by many speakers in everyday language.

    Calling such an expression an oxymoron is sometimes done in order to disparage its use, by drawing attention to a perceived inherent contradiction and thus claiming it to be nonsensical. Often this kind of argument is used in domains of political or ideological dispute, or in order to criticize a perceived non-sensical use of technical terms by lay people who fail to understand their true meanings. Examples of expressions that are used without a sense of paradox by some but have been claimed to be "oxymorons" in this sense by critics include:

    civil libertarian

    democratic leadership

    anecdotal evidence

    inductive logic

    pretty ugly

    Sometimes, the labelling of an otherwise non-paradox expression as a perceived oxymoron is made on the basis of substituting an alternative, non-intended meaning for the meaning normally intended in the context of the expression in question. For instance, in the expression Civil war, the term civil is normally intended to mean "between citizens of the same state". In this sense, the expression is neither paradox nor self-contradictory. However, if one forcibly construes civil in the sense of 'non-military' or 'reasonable and polite', the expression may become a perceived contradiction in terms. Such designations of alleged oxymora are often made with a humorous purpose.

    A more subtle rhetorical maneuvre in designating an expression XY as an "oxymoron", often used for either humorous or polemical purposes, is to pick out a perceived or alleged property of objects of type Y, re-construe that property as if it were a defining criterion of Y, and then demonstrate that it is contradicted by X. For instance, if one were to claim that "honest Republican" was an oxymoron, this would imply the claim that Republicans, by definition, are dishonest. Other expressions which have been designated oxymora in such a fashion include: Microsoft Works, corporate ethics.

    Both the above strategies can be seen combined in an example like "military intelligence". First, the term "intelligence" is re-construed as meaning not "information gathering" but "intellectual power"; then it is implied that military people are, by definition, not intelligent.

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  • 1 decade ago


    Greek oxumron, from neuter of oxumros, pointedly foolish : oxus, sharp ; see oxygen + mros, foolish, dull

    Or were you really asking about self-contradicting incests????

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  • 1 decade ago

    from Gk oxumōron, neut. (used asnoun) of oxumōros 'pointedly foolish', from oxus 'sharp' + mōros 'foolish'

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