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Oxymoron: Expression with Contradictory Words

Published Saturday, September 30, 2006

Oxymoron is a figure of speech (expression) with contradictory words (phrases) in which two words of contradictory meaning are used together for special (rhetorical) effect. In other words, two words used together which have opposite meanings to make or highlight a point in a statement or expression. You will find that some, if not most, of these oxymorons to be "awfully good" or" seriously funny" in the list given below. See what I’m getting at!? Now, here are some oxymorons that you can learn and ponder over. New ones will be added as this becomes future history.

List of Oxymorons


a fine mess
a just war
a little big
a new classic
absolutely unsure
abundant poverty
accidentally on purpose
accurate estimate
act naturally
active retirement
actual reenactment
adult children
advanced basic
advanced beginner
agree to disagree
alone in a crowd
almost exactly
almost safe
almost surprised
almost totally
alone together
amateur expert
amicable divorce
among the first
anonymous colleague
anticipated serendipity
anticipating the unanticipated
anxious patient
apathetic interest
approximately equal
arrogant humility
astronomically small
authentic replica
authentic reproduction
authoritarian anarchy
awfully good
awfully nice
Awfully pretty


baby giant
balanced insanity
baggy tights
Band Jocks
bankrupt millionaire
barely dressed
benevolent despot
better than new
beyond infinity
big baby
big sip
big town
bigger half
bingeing on moderation
bitter sweet
black light
blameless culprit
boneless ribs
books on tape
boring court jester
boring entertainment
born dead
brave wimp
brief speech
brief survey
bright night
bright shade
brilliantly dull
budget deficit
burning cold
business casual


calculated error
calculated risk
calculated spontaneity
calm storm
calm winds
cardinal sin
casual intimacy
casually concerned
cautiously optimistic
cavalier concern
center around
certainly unsure
cheerful pessimist
cheerfully cynical
cheerfully mournful
chilling fever
Christian evolutionist
civil disobedience
Civil War
civilized warfare
classic new homes
clean dirt
clean kill
clean litter
clear as mud
clearly ambiguous
clearly confused
clearly misunderstood
clever fool
click the start button to shut down
climb down
close distance
co-ed fraternity
co-ed sorority
cold fever
cold hotdog
cold sweat
cold toast
collective liberty
combative apology
common abnormality
common phenomenon
comparatively unique
compassionate editor
complete separation
completely unfinished
compulsory volunteers
confident fear
conscripted volunteer
conservative liberal
considerate boss
consistent discrepancies
consistent uncertainties
consistently inconsistent
conspicuously absent
constant change
constant infrequent
constant variable
constructive ambiguity
constructive criticism
continuing resolution
contra aid
controlled chaos
countless numbers
cowardly lion
crash landing
creative destruction
crisis management
critical acclaim
cruel kindness
current history
curved line


daily special
dangerously safe
dark day
dark light
dark star
dark victory
dead livestock
deaf listener
defensive strike
deficit spending
definite maybe
deliberate mistake
deliberately thoughtless
demanding patient
deregulation Law
detailed summary
devilish angel
devout atheist
diet ice cream
different pattern
diligent sloth
diminished confidence
diminishing growth
diminutive giants
dim light
direct circumvention
disciplined gluttony
discretionary rules
disposable income
distant relative
divided unity
divorce court
doing nothing
doubting believers
drawing a blank
dress pants
dry ice
dry lake
dry pond
dry snow
dry wine
dull acupuncturists
dull needle
dull roar
dull shine
dying is a part of life
dynamic monotone
dynamic stability


easy problem
easy task
educated guess
elected king
elementary calculus
elevated subway
elite rabble
energetic exhaustion
enormously small
equally diverse
essential luxury
even odds
evolutionary fact
exact estimate
expected serendipity
expected surprise
expect the unexpected
explicit innuendo
explicitly ambiguous
express line
expressive silence
extended deadline
extensive briefing
extinct life form
extra ordinary
extremely average
extremely neutral
eyes wide shut


fail safe
fairly accurate
fairly explicit
fairly obvious
fallout shelter
false fact
false hope
family vacation
fan fatale
fast snail
fast turtle
fast waiter
fast walk
fatally injured
faultily faultless
fearful bravery
female gunman
fictional truth
fictional reality
fiery ice
fighting for peace
final conclusion
fire water
firm estimate
firm pillow
first annual
first-strike defense
floating to the bottom
flurry of inactivity
forgotten memories
forward back
found missing
free credit
free purchase
free rent
free society
freezer burn
fresh dried fruit
fresh frozen
fresh sour cream
fried roast
friendly divorce
friendly enemy
friendly fights
friendly fire
friendly takeover
friendly war
frightening comfort
front end
frozen flame
future history


gentle turbulence
genuine fake
genuinely fake
genuine-imitation leather
giant dwarf
gigantic microorganism
girly man
global village
go ahead, back up
gold silverware
going nowhere
good beating
good grief
good junk
good profanity
good stuff
green oranges
grounded airplane
group of individuals
growing small
guaranteed forecast
guest host


half dead
Half dressed
half empty
half full
half naked
half true
halfway done
ham steak
happily married
happy apathy
happy demise
happy pessimist
hard cushion
hard pillow
harmless abuse
harmless crime
harmless lie
harmless pollution
harmless pornography
harmless sin
harmonious discord
hasten slowly
head butt
hell’s angels
here and there
highly visible covert operation
hilarious funeral
history of the future
historical current event
holy hell
holy war
home office
home school
honest liar
honest thief
hopeful pessimist
hopelessly optimistic
horribly decent
hot ice
human robot
humane robotics
humanitarian invasion


icy hot
idiot Savant
idly laborious
impatient patient
important trivia
inarticulate writer
incomplete cure
increasing declines
incredibly real
initial conclusion
innocent criminal
insanely normal
insomniac dreams
inside out
insincere thanks
insincere vow
interest free loan
intimate strangers


joyful trouble
jumbo shrimp
just war
justifiably paranoid
justified rape


known-covert operation


laborious idleness
lace-up loafers
larger half
last initial
legal murder
less is more
lesser evil
lesser good
liberal conservative
limited immunity
limited incursion
limited lifetime guarantee
limited freedom
linear curve
liquid crystal
liquid gas
liquid metal
literary illiterates
little big
little bit big
little giant
live recording
living dead
living end
living fossil
local long distance
loners club
long and short of it
long shorts
loose knot
loose tights
loud librarian
loud whisper
loud silence


major minority
male compassion
mandatory judgment
mandatory Option
mandatory volunteerism
mannish woman
mean smile
meaningful nonsense
meatless meat
medium large
melted ice
mercy killing
midnight sun
mighty weak
mild interest
military peace
mini jumbo
minor crisis
minor disaster
minor miracle
missing present
modern history
modern maturity
modern tradition
more perfect
more unique
mournful optimist
mute sound
mutual differences
my worst favorite


nameless celebrity
nasty politeness
natural artifact
natural makeup
natural synthetic
near future
near miss
nearly complete
neat mess
necessary evil
negative gain
negative growth
neutral charge
never again
never generalize
new and improved
new antique
new archeology
new classic
new improved
new routine
new tradition
new used cars
nice and sleazy
night light
no-good do-gooder!
noiseless sound
non-denominational church
normal deviation
normal espionage
nothing much
Now, then


obedient defiance
objective opinion
obscene art
obvious secret
obviously concealed
ocean shore
oddly appropriate
oddly natural
old newborn
one choice
one hundred percent chance
one hundred percent plus
one person crew
one size fits all
once again
only choice
open lock
open secret
opposite attraction
orderly confusion
organized anarchy
organized chaos
organized committee
organized confusion
organized mess
original reprint
original copy
original reproduction
outer core
oven fried


paid volunteer
painless torture
paper tablecloth
paper towel
partial silence
partial success
partially completed
partially destroyed
partially organized
passive aggression
passive challenge
passive confrontation
passively aggressive
past prediction
peace force
peace offensive
peace riot
peaceful liberation
peaceful protests
peacekeeping force
perfect idiot
perfect misfit
perfectly awful
perfectly normal
perfectly ridiculous
perfect screw-up
permanent substitute
persistent ambivalence
pious atheist
planned exodus
plastic glasses
plastic silverware
plastic wood
pleasant hell
pleasantly confused
pleasing pain
politely insulting
poor rich kid
positively negative
positively wrong
pretty ugly
powdered water
practical experience
practice test
precious junk
predictably random
premeditated spontaneity
presently gone
pretty bad
pretty disgusting
previous history
priceless junk
private public record
procrastinate now
progressing backward
pronounced silence
public secret
pure evil


questionable answer
quiet hurricanes
quiet loudspeaker
quiet noise
quiet storm
quiet tirade
quiet yell


random order
randomly organized
random pattern
real fantasy
real magic
real phony
realistic fantasy
realistic liberal
recent history
recently new
reckless caution
recoilless rifle
recorded live
recycling dump
regular special
relative stranger
relative truth
roaring silence
rock opera
round corner
round edges


sad clown
sad optimist
sad smile
sadly amused
sadly funny
safe and sane fireworks
safe bet
safety hazard
same difference
sanitary landfill
sanitary napkin
scalding coolness
scheduled spontaneity
science fiction
scientific belief
scientific speculation
screaming in silence
screaming silence
scripted spontaneity
second best
second initial
secret rumor
sedate sex
sensitive guy
serial monogamous
serious clown
serious comic
serious fun
serious humor
seriously funny
shared monopoly
sharp curve
short distance
short survey
short tall tales
shout in a whisper
shouting whispers
sight unseen
silent alarm
silent applause
silent noise
silent scream
silent sound
silent speech
silent yell
simple calculus
simple confusion
simply superb
sincere lie
sinfully good
single copy
single pair
singular relationship
sit up
slight exaggeration
slight surprise
slightly overweight
slightly-used-dental floss
slow and steady rush
slow jet
slow speed
smart fool
small fortune
small giant
smaller half
smart dork
smokeless cigarette
snow-white tan
sober drunk
social hermit
social outcast
soft rock
soft thunder
somewhat awesome
somewhat destroyed
sound of silence
sound-filled silence
specialize in everything
specifically vague
spectator sport
splendidly dull
spoken thought
staged accident
start stopping
static variable
stationary orbit
still moving
still wind
stop action
straight angle
straight hook
strangely familiar
student teacher
stunted growth
stupid genius
subtle exaggeration
subversive compliance
sugarless candy
suicide victim
sun shade
sun shower
sweet and sour
sweet pickle
sweet sorrow
synthetic natural gas
systematic chaos
systematic disorder


taped live
temporary finish
tense calm
tentative conclusion
terminal initialization
terribly enjoyable
terribly good
terribly nice
terribly pleased
thank God I'm an atheist
thinking out loud
the grateful dead
the peace war
thinking out
thunderous silence
tight slacks
timeless moment
tiny mountain
tiny tank
to infinity and beyond
to make haste slowly
toll free
tomorrow today
tomorrows' headlines today
top floor
totalitarian democracy
totally partial
tough love
transient stability
traumatic bonding
tremendously small
troubled paradise
true counterfeit
true fiction
true gossip
true illusion
true lies
true story
truthful tabloids
twelve-ounce pound cake


unbelievably real
unbiased journalism
unbiased news report
unbiased opinion
unbiased predisposition
uncommonly common
uncommonly normal
uncontested divorce
uncrowned king
under abundance
understanding editors
unfunny joke
unhappily married
uninvited guest
unknown knowledge
upcoming downtrend
upside down
unrepeatable pleonasm
unsalted saltines
unsolved mystery
unspoken suggestion
unusual routine
unwelcome greetings
unwelcome recess
usually unusual


valuable junk
veiled accusation
vegetarian meatball
venial sin
vices of our virtues
victimless crime
vigorously ignoring
violent agreement
virgin birth
virtual life
virtual reality
voluntary taxes
voodoo science


waking dream
waning crescent
war games
warm ice
waterproof sponge
weak muscle
wealthy professor
weapons of peace
wedded bliss
well-preserved ruins
wet drywall
We’re alone
wheeled walker
white chocolate
white gold
white lie
white night
white rose
whole half
whole hemisphere
whole part
whole piece
whole percentage
wicked good
wickedly good
willful negligence
wind burn
wise fool
withheld contribution
wordless book
work party
working hobby
working lunch
working vacation


xenophobic foreign secretary


young adult
young sixty


zero deficit

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