Oxymorons/los oximoron

Ben Jamin

Senior Member
Polish
The only one that you acknowledge as a real oxymoron, namely "an intelligent idiot", is all but scarce in our surroundings. In fact I feel like one myself sometimes.
This was only the one at the list. You can find plenty genuine oxymorons in poetry, or compose themselves, like "a little great man", "hot ice", "dark light", and so on, but if you try with "nice mother in law", then you are on the wrong side.
it is a pity that far too many contributors to this thread can't understand what an oxymoron really is.
 
  • franknagy

    Senior Member
    If anyone is interested, we could begin the Official WordReference multilingual list of oxymorons, in whatever languages you please.

    Here's a beginning:

    Juegos de guerra/war games

    and one of my favorites:
    military intelligence

    and let us not forget... Honorarios legales razonables

    or Non-stop flight.

    What are your favorites?

    saludos,
    Cuchuflete
    honest lawyer
    inbribable politian
     

    eno2

    Senior Member
    Dutch-Flemish
    This was only the one at the list. You can find plenty genuine oxymorons in poetry, or compose themselves, like "a little great man", "hot ice", "dark light", and so on, but if you try with "nice mother in law", then you are on the wrong side.
    it is a pity that far too many contributors to this thread can't understand what an oxymoron really is.
    It's not so easy.

    Ah yes, I see what you mean now, yes you´re absolutely right. I was reading it as "non-stopover flight" which would be tautological but not an oxymoron.:thumbsup:
    WhY?

    European union - oooh controversial....
    Funny. The wishfull thinking for it`s falling apart doesn't make it an oxymoron...

    If anyone is interested, we could begin the Official WordReference multilingual list of oxymorons, in whatever languages you please.

    Here's a beginning:

    Juegos de guerra/war games

    and one of my favorites:
    military intelligence

    and let us not forget... Honorarios legales razonables

    or Non-stop flight.

    What are your favorites?

    saludos,
    Cuchuflete
    None.

    Non-stop flight: you have to consider what is meant: without a stop in between. Everybody knows that a flight has to have one stop. It's an ellipse, not an oxymoron.

    military intelligence: that's a mere joke. Based on introducing a clash between two meanings:Intelligence as IQ and intelligence as (secret) information.
     
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    JamesM

    Senior Member
    it is a pity that far too many contributors to this thread can't understand what an oxymoron really is.
    There are two levels of oxymoron, Ben Jamin, the technically accurate one and the culturally accurate one. :) You appear to be holding on to the technical one and ignoring the cultural one, such as "efficient government". ;)

    Genuine oxymorons are not funny. Cultural oxymorons are. You might be missing the joke.
     

    King Crimson

    Modus in fabula
    Italiano
    This is a staple of the Italian political discourse:
    Convergenze parallele (converging parallel lines)

    But don't ask me to explain it, for it would take too long (and I'm not sure I could;))

    And no, the intersection point at infinity has no relevance here...
     

    franknagy

    Senior Member
    The "wooden spoons" used in the kitchen are mainly made of plastics.
    Paperless printer.
    This not a logical oxymoron but a remainder of outdated techniques in the language.
    The watch-houses of soldiers were called in Hungarian "fa|kabát"="wooden coat".
    Watch-houses in front of embassies and government buildings still exists. Naturally they are made of bullet-proof glass and steel but they the passers-by call the "fakabát" as 200 years ago.
     

    Ben Jamin

    Senior Member
    Polish
    There are two levels of oxymoron, Ben Jamin, the technically accurate one and the culturally accurate one. :) You appear to be holding on to the technical one and ignoring the cultural one, such as "efficient government". ;)

    Genuine oxymorons are not funny. Cultural oxymorons are. You might be missing the joke.
    Where did you find this classification? I have never heard of it.
     

    franknagy

    Senior Member
    Maybe but not mainly. Nowadays (in fact, in all my life) fakabát is/has been a slang word for (chiefly) a policeman. (See here for more.)
    Zsanna, I see from your link that the meaning of "fakabát" has shifted from watch-house to policeman.
    Policeman used to stand in watch-houses, too, so the meaning of the expression has transferred from objects to persons using it (intermediate state=black&yellow soldier) to present policeman.
     

    Zsanna

    ModErrata
    Hungarian - Hungary
    I am aware of that, thanks, frank. However, I don't think it's really an oxymoron, so I won't be longer about it.
     

    Truffula

    Senior Member
    English - USA
    There are two levels of oxymoron, Ben Jamin, the technically accurate one and the culturally accurate one. :) You appear to be holding on to the technical one and ignoring the cultural one, such as "efficient government". ;)

    Genuine oxymorons are not funny. Cultural oxymorons are. You might be missing the joke.
    Where did you find this classification? I have never heard of it.
    JamesM might have invented the term "cultural oxymoron" but it's a good description for phrases that are oxymoronic because of connotations or particular meanings rather than generally.
     

    jedna

    Senior Member
    Dutch:
    jeugdige grijsaard: youthful old man
    ongekroonde koning: uncrowned king
    horende doof: while hearing deaf
    ziende blind: while seeing blind
    oudere jongere: (literally: older young one = a middle-aged adolesceont)
    oud nieuws: old news
     
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    Kotlas

    Senior Member
    Russian - Russia
    Russian:
    Старый Новый год - Old New Year
    ['staryy 'novyy got]

    Prior to the Revolution of 1917, Russia used the Julian calendar, and the difference between the Julian and Gregorian calendars is 13 days. So some Russians still celebrate New Year's Eve according to the Julian calendar on January 13th and call this event "Старый Новый год - Old New Year".
     

    ilocas2

    Banned
    Czech
    If Jimmy Wales and his crew created this motto in order to express the idea that you don't have pay for Wikipedia, then the world didn't understand them.

    Wikipedia, Die freie Enzyklopädie
    Wikipedia, La enciclopedia libre
    Wikipédia, L'encyclopédie libre
    Wikipedia, L'enciclopedia libera
    Wikipedia, De vrije encyclopedie
    Wikipedia, Wolna encyklopedia
    Wikipedia, Slobodna enciklopedija
    ...
     

    Kotlas

    Senior Member
    Russian - Russia
    I think the title of this novel by Milan Kundera, Czech-born French writer, can be considered an oxymoron:
    The Unbearable Lightness of Being (in Czech: Nesnesitelná lehkost bytí)

    Some more translations:
    L'insostenibile leggerezza dell'essere (Italian)
    Die unerträgliche Leichtigkeit des Seins (German)
    L'Insoutenable Légèreté de l'être (French)
    La insoportable levedad del ser (Spanish)
     

    ilocas2

    Banned
    Czech
    (Off-topic post alert:idea:. If it's unbearable (pun intended) let's delete it.)

    I consider Milan Kundera a cheater. I think it's impossible for a Czech native speaker to learn French to the point of being able to write novels.
     

    Kotlas

    Senior Member
    Russian - Russia
    I think it's impossible for a Czech native speaker to learn French to the point of being able to write novels.
    Why is it impossible? Let's take, for example, Vladimir Nabokov.
    "His first nine novels were in Russian, but he achieved international prominence after he began writing English prose." (Wikipedia)

    And since this thread is about oxymorons, here is one from Vladimir Nabokov's short story Thunderstorm:
    громовой шепот [grama'voy 'shopat] - thunderous whisper
     
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    MiguelitOOO

    Senior Member
    Español - México
    Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia
    People think it's free (it has no cost $), but actually it's free (uncontrolled). Ohhh, but, that is not a oxymoron. Only when it is compared with the other names of Wikipedia in other languages. right? And... is that a valid understanding of what an oxymoron is?
     
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    ilocas2

    Banned
    Czech
    Yes, you are right that "Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia" is not an oxymoron, regardless of how one understands it. But I'm not a first person who wrote things that are not oxymorons in this thread.
     

    MiguelitOOO

    Senior Member
    Español - México
    Yes, you are right that "Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia" is not an oxymoron, regardless of how one understands it. But I'm not a first person who wrote things that are not oxymorons in this thread.
    Among them, yours is an interesting one.
     

    eno2

    Senior Member
    Dutch-Flemish
    I consider Milan Kundera a cheater. I think it's impossible for a Czech native speaker to learn French to the point of being able to write novels.
    Milan Kundera (Czech: [ˈmɪlan ˈkundɛra]; born 1 April 1929) is a Czech-born French writer who went into exile in France in 1975, and became a naturalised French citizen in 1981. He "sees himself as a French writer and insists his work should be studied as French literature and classified as such in book stores".[2]
     
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