Oxymorons/los oximoron

Discussion in 'Cultural Discussions' started by cuchuflete, Feb 13, 2005.

  1. Metzaka

    Metzaka Senior Member

    Oz
    "Mexican Spanish"
    muerto en vida
    llorando a carcajadas
    pequeño gigante
    soñar despierto
     
  2. rolmich Senior Member

    Tel-Aviv/Israel
    french (France)
    Heard on the National Geographic TV channel concerning a well known British car manufacturer :
    J....r, looking back on its future.
     
  3. Nanon

    Nanon Senior Member

    Entre Paris et Lisbonne
    français (France)
    I also know this as ужасно красивый (horribly beautiful).
    Which reminds me of French horriblement délicieux and of Spanish Te quiero horrores.
     
  4. timpeac

    timpeac Senior Member

    England
    English (England)
    Quantum leap. I have the feeling that when this was first coined it either meant a tiny, but meaningful, step or was a deliberate oxymoron - but over time it seems to have come to mean "a great leap".
     
  5. Natalisha Senior Member

    Russian
    One more
    "устал отдыхать" (I'm tired of relaxing).:)
     
  6. catlady60

    catlady60 Senior Member

    Nazareth, PA
    English-US (New York City)
    One more in English:

    Purebred mutt
     
  7. rolmich Senior Member

    Tel-Aviv/Israel
    french (France)
    This is a beautiful one from James's The Ambassadors quoted by Azar Nafisi in Reading Lolita in Tehran :
    A perfectly equipped failure.
     
  8. rolmich Senior Member

    Tel-Aviv/Israel
    french (France)
    Seen on a billboard for an ice cream add :
    J..a The hottest ice cream ever !
     
  9. Grop

    Grop Senior Member

    Provence
    français
    Heard after the security at a concert stopped a fight : bombe lacrymo format familial (family size tear gaz spray).
     
  10. catlady60

    catlady60 Senior Member

    Nazareth, PA
    English-US (New York City)
    I'm surprised nobody mentioned holy war.
     
  11. Mate

    Mate Senior Member

    Argentina
    Castellano - Argentina
    In case nobody said it before: una tensa calma (antecede la tormenta).

    Ah! someone posted something similar more than 6 years ago!
     
  12. aldonzalorenzo

    aldonzalorenzo Senior Member

    Madrid, Spain
    Spanish
    Una amiga argentina me dijo el otro día: ¡Qué joven tu vieja!
     
  13. Ben Jamin Senior Member

    Norway
    Polish
    Yes, it was mentioned (this thread has become so long, that most people do not read the whole).

    By the way, what is "oxymoronic" in holy war? Please explain.
    A "peacuful war" is much more "oxymoronic", but still not impossible to imagine: a war that has been oficially declared, but no actual military actions have been taken (see French-British war against Germany september 1939 - april 1940).

    Most of the expressions proposed in this thread are only apparent oxymorons, as they lack the inherent generally accepted paradox. The paradoxes assumed are mostly limited to small groups of people. Often they are considered oxymorons due to some individual understanding of one of the terms, or even misunderstanding.
     
  14. XiaoRoel

    XiaoRoel Senior Member

    Vigo (Galiza)
    galego, español
    La retórica clásica define el oxímoron (ὀξύμωρον en griego, oximora uerba en latín) como una antítesis de palabras aisladas (no de frases u oraciones) en el que entre los dos miembros de la antítesis se da una paradoja intelectual. Hay tres tipos:
    a) El oxímoron es el resultado de una tensión significativa entre el portador de la cualidad (substantivo, verbo, sujeto) y la cualidad en sí (adjetivo, adverbio, predicado). P. ej.: Horacio, rerum concordia discors (discorde concordia de las cosas), Agustín de Hipona, in istam dicam mortalem uitam an mortem uitalem (¿Cómo llamare a ésta, vida mortal o muerte vital?, Shakespeare, O brawling love! O loving hate? (¡Amor pendenciero! ¡Inquina amorosa!).
    b) El oxímoron es el resultado de la tensión entre cualidades (adverbios, adjetivos). P. Ej.: Camoens (o Camões como escriben en portugués moderno), aquela leda e triste madrugada (aquella triste y alegre madrugada).
    c) El oxímoron es el resultado de la distinción enfática, que afirma la existencia e inexistencia simultáneas de una misma cosa. P. ej.: Camoens, Não levais de vencer-me grande glória. Maior a teve eu de ser vencido (no lleváis de vencerme gran gloria, mayor la tuve yo de ser vencido).
     
  15. Ben Jamin Senior Member

    Norway
    Polish
    In which category would you put 'holy war'?
     
  16. XiaoRoel

    XiaoRoel Senior Member

    Vigo (Galiza)
    galego, español
    En la categoría a).
     
  17. Ben Jamin Senior Member

    Norway
    Polish
    Cual es la antitesis entre "sagrada" y "guerra"? Esos adjetivos describen categorias distintas. Para obtenir una antitesis se debe utilisar adjetivos que describen la misma calidad, por ejemplo la grandeza: "un pequeño gigante".
     
  18. SPQR Senior Member

    US
    American English
    Legal ethics
    Ethical lawyer
     
  19. Ben Jamin Senior Member

    Norway
    Polish
    These are not oxymorons, they do not meet the requirements. An oxymoron must combine contradictory terms. These must be logical contradictions, not your own personal idiosyncrasies, based on a subjective point of view. To call them oxymorons you should first prove logically that there is a contradiction in definition.

    If you are a vegetarian, the expression "tasteful meat" is an oxymoron. But this is your subjective, idiosyncratic oxymoron. It is not linguistic and it is not universal. An example of a true oxymoron is 'true lie', which is purely based on logic and lexical definitions.
     
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2011
  20. XiaoRoel

    XiaoRoel Senior Member

    Vigo (Galiza)
    galego, español
    En el pensamiento ético del cristianismo santo (no sagrado, que es mala traducción) está claramente opuesto a guerra, desde la más antigua patrística. En este contexto son absolutamente contradictorios. Lo santo es lo acorde al mensaje de dios, lo propio de la ciuitas dei, de la ciudad de dios, y la guerra destructora lo propio de la ciuitas hominum, de la Roma pagana (Agustín de Hipona, De ciuitate dei).
     
  21. Ben Jamin Senior Member

    Norway
    Polish
    Pero el mundo Cristiano hacía la guerra santa muchas veces. Por otra parte, el concepto de guerre santa no debe ser cristiano. Otras religiones, especialmente el Islam, conocen y aprecian el concepto de guerra santa.
    Pues, no hay ninguna contradiction linguistica en la expresión 'guerra santa', solo contradicciones ideologicas o filosoficas de algunos hombres, pero no todos. La contradiccion debe ser linguistica y universal para llamar una expresión 'oxymoron'. En otros casos hay solo 'idio-oxymorones' de los individuales.
     
  22. XiaoRoel

    XiaoRoel Senior Member

    Vigo (Galiza)
    galego, español
    Esta afirmación tan taxativa es, como mínimo, no exacta. Los hechos culturales, por definición, siempre tienen un tiempo y un espacio y se incardinan en una serie de parámetros ideológicos, propios de la sociedad que produce esos hechos. En las cosas humanas nada hay universal (ni el dinero). Creer esto es pecar del más puro transcendentalismo.
    Para tí, ¿la semántica y la estilística no son hechos lingüísticos? Si así piensas, no hay más que hablar. Para tí la perra gorda.
     
  23. Ben Jamin Senior Member

    Norway
    Polish
    I hope you don't mind my answering in English. (This way more people will be able to follow, and for me it's easier to write English.)
    I think, that the question you rise is very interesting. An oxymoron is a stylistic device, and like all stylistic devices should be used by the author with care and reflection about who the readers are. You have to decide if you wish that your writing should be read and understood by all people that have a command of the language you use (the language here means for instance English, Spanish, etc, not the writer's personal variety of langauge), or if you want to reach only a narrow group that already shares your convictions.

    If you write exclusively for vegetarians, then you can use the expression "delicious meat" as an oxymoron, but if you write for general public, this oxymoron won't work. Here comes the factor of ideology that is not necessarily shared by all speakers of a given language. Ideology is, such as I understand it, not a linguistic phenomenon, as it is not common for all people using the same language. If you write only for socialsts, than 'honest capitalist' will be a good oxymoron, in other case not.
    By universal I meant common for all speakers of a language, as for example anybody speaking English will regard 'cold fire' as a contradiction, but this is certainly not true in the case of 'delicious meat'.

    At the end: i commented this thread because i found that the contributors stream in the direction of more and more idiosyncratic 'oxymorons'. The end will be reached with somebody having a nasty neighbour named NN will send his proposal for an oxymoron: 'nice NN'.
     
  24. XiaoRoel

    XiaoRoel Senior Member

    Vigo (Galiza)
    galego, español
    Contrariamente a lo que piensas la historia de la palabras, la semántica diacrónica, nos enseñan que lengua e ideología social son algo íntimamente unido. Es sumamente interesante la historia de los prestamos y de los calcos. En el libro de Vendryes, Le langage, part III Le Vocabulaire, sp. cpts. 1, 2 y 3, verás una lúcida exposición de la conexión entre ideología y semántica.
    Por extenso que sea el ámbito cultural (incluso dentro de una lengua no tiene por que afectar a todos los "dialectos") en el que un oxímoron es estilísticamente efectivo, siempre tendrá sus límites. Lo cual no impide la propagación cultural extensa de elementos estilísticos, aunque nunga llegarán al total de la humanidad y tendrán límites temporales para su eficacia (al menos el de origen a quo).
     
  25. Ben Jamin Senior Member

    Norway
    Polish
    Your answer is formulated on a high level of abstraction, and I hardly can deduce from it what could be your opinion on the concrete examples that I gave in my last posting.
     
  26. grubble

    grubble Senior Member

    South of England, UK
    British English
    Hmm... The same could be said about any mode of travel. Indeed any action at all has to have a beginning and an end. I suggest we delete the expression from the English language entirely as, logically, it can never be used.

    We are all different!
     
  27. rolmich Senior Member

    Tel-Aviv/Israel
    french (France)
    From Raphaël Delpard written for Metula News Agency :
    La pérennité des Coptes menacée en Egypte
    Il s'agit tout simplement d'un ethnocide rampant, qui se poursuit dans le silence assourdissant du Quai d'Orsay, de l'Union Européenne et de l'Onu.....
    silence assourdissant = deafening silence.
     
  28. rolmich Senior Member

    Tel-Aviv/Israel
    french (France)
    Deafening whisper
    Seen in an Israeli newspaper to describe what was supposed to be a very private exchange between French President Nicolas Sarkozy and US President Barack Obama in which the two leaders were overheard making critical remarks on Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu.
     
  29. duvija

    duvija Senior Member

    Chicago
    Spanish - Uruguay
    Asociación ilícita para delinquir (that's how the military government in Uruguay, called an urban guerrilla in the 70's. Clearly, it implies there are 'licit' associations for delinquency).
     
  30. Ben Jamin Senior Member

    Norway
    Polish
    This is not an oxymoron. There is no opposition, logical or emotional between "Asociación ilícita" and "para delinquir". One could argue, that the expression is pleonastic or tautological (with redundant elements), but is it really?
    An illicit association is a breach of law in itself, before it defines its objective which is to commit more illicit acts.
     
  31. uchi.m

    uchi.m Banned

    Redeeming limbo
    Brazil, Portuguese
    honest politician
    shemale
    good drug
     
  32. Ben Jamin Senior Member

    Norway
    Polish
    honest politician: emotional opposition, idiosyncratic just for you, not a logical opposition
    shemale: never heard of
    good drug: 'drug' means also 'medicine', all "drugs" (narcotics), by the way, are also used as medicines, no logical opposition
     
  33. uchi.m

    uchi.m Banned

    Redeeming limbo
    Brazil, Portuguese
    Is never say never a logical contradiction for you, Mr. Ben Jamin?
     
  34. atcheque Senior Member

    français (France)
    In French, from Pierre Dac:
    "Parler pour ne rien dire et ne rien dire pour parler sont les deux principes majeurs de tous ceux qui feraient mieux de la fermer avant de l'ouvrir ."
    "Talk to say nothing and say nothing to talk are the both majors principles of those who should better shut it up before open it"
     
    Last edited: Nov 25, 2011
  35. Ben Jamin Senior Member

    Norway
    Polish
    No, it is not. Is it for you?
     
  36. LilianaB Banned

    US New York
    Lithuanian
    Black snow in Antarctica, hot ice, sweet salt, soothing pepper, calming hot pink, cold orange, might be examples of oxymorons.

    Black snow in some places may not be an oxymoron any more.
     
  37. rolmich Senior Member

    Tel-Aviv/Israel
    french (France)
  38. aldonzalorenzo

    aldonzalorenzo Senior Member

    Madrid, Spain
    Spanish
    "Ay, mi morena, morena clara. Ay mi morena. ¡Qué gusto da mirarla!" (Zarzuela, Luisa Fernanda).
     
  39. Ben Jamin Senior Member

    Norway
    Polish
    Works fine if you can believe in possibility of time travelling.
     
  40. rolmich Senior Member

    Tel-Aviv/Israel
    french (France)
    OK I agree, but the intention of the creator of this title was clearly to use the impact of the oxymoron (and he succeeded)
     
  41. turkjey5 Senior Member

    English - USA
    unbiased reporting
     
  42. LilianaB Banned

    US New York
    Lithuanian
    This is not a real oxymoron. It is very subjective. Some reporting may well be unbiased, and a lot of it is, whereas snow cannot be black in natural environment, unless close to a factory.
     
  43. Anja.Ann

    Anja.Ann Senior Member

    Lombardia
    Italian
    Hello everybody :)

    Two oxymorons I like very much: "silenzio eloquente" and "ghiaccio bollente" ("eloquent silence" and "hot ice") :)
     
  44. uchi.m

    uchi.m Banned

    Redeeming limbo
    Brazil, Portuguese
    Time travelling does not exist. Unless you are a subatomic particle yourself. And you can only more forwards in time, never backwards.
     
    Last edited: Dec 28, 2011
  45. uchi.m

    uchi.m Banned

    Redeeming limbo
    Brazil, Portuguese
    Yes, it is.
     
  46. uchi.m

    uchi.m Banned

    Redeeming limbo
    Brazil, Portuguese
    Countably infinite
     
    Last edited: Dec 29, 2011
  47. gvozd Senior Member

    Живой труп (living corpse). The living corpse is a play by Leo Tolstoy. Now this expression means a scum (a man) but it is rarely used as far as I can see.
     
  48. Ben Jamin Senior Member

    Norway
    Polish
    Could you explain why?
     
  49. Explorer41 Senior Member

    C'est vraiment faux!

    "Countably infinite" does not contain a contradiction and therefore is not an oxymoron; but "countably finite" is. Countability of a set means that one can establish an one-to-one correspondance between elements of the set and natural numbers. The set of natural numbers is infinite, therefore a finite set cannot be countable.

    By the way, to me, "artificial life" is not an oxymoron either.
     
  50. Forero Senior Member

    Houston, Texas, USA
    USA English
    The usual definition of countable in mathematics is "that can be placed in a one-to-one correspondence with a subset of the natural numbers". In this sense, both finite and infinite sets can be countable.

    But outside of mathematics countable means "that can be counted, one at a time, until finished". In this sense, "countably infinite" is an oxymoron.
     

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