Oxymoron is a Literary figure consisting of combine two expressions of opposite meaning in the same structure , with the aim of generating a third concept With a new meaning. The study of its etymology demonstrates that it is a word composed of two Greek terms, whose approximate meanings are "acute" and "fool", two terms as opposite as an oxymoron in itself.
The oxymoron works in a metaphorical sense since its meaning literal is absurd or incoherent. For example: “His work is covered with a luminous darkness” It is an oxymoron that could refer to a revealing artistic style. The phrase "The drug offers a painful pleasure"On the other hand, it expresses both the momentary pleasant sensation and the serious long-term problems that cause certain types of chemical substances, also known as narcotic drugs.
This figure rhetoric allows to hide a sarcastic intention under an expression that, apparently, is absurd: "A thunderous silence descended from the galleries to the stage and baffled the actors".
Opposite the oxymoron, which awaits an effort on the part of the recipient to find its meaning, the pleonasm it is an expressive resource that uses a redundancy of varied extension to reinforce the sense of an idea. Its presence, unlike oxymoron, is very common in everyday speech, as can be seen in the following cases: "You must climb up", "I will not repeat it again", "He saw it with his own eyes". Pleonasm also appears in various literary works, environment in which it enjoys a depth that distances it from a mere repetition of concepts.
A figure of the thought that is often confused with the oxymoron is the antithesis, which is constructed with the contrast of phrases or words that have an opposite meaning. The poem entitled "Love is so short, and oblivion so long"It is a clear example of this resource, which does not express a contradictory idea, but reinforces the weight of one making use of another, which has an opposite meaning. Outside the literary field, it is common to speak of antithesis when you want to compare two people or two situations, usually focusing on the negative characteristics of one of them.
The paradoxOn the other hand, it is used to affirm a contradiction in itself, something that in a given culture seems meaningless. This is seen very frequently in the mystical language, which suggests the existence of a plane that has not been explored or accepted by science. In a sonnet by Pablo Neruda we find a stanza that begins by saying "I love you to start loving you"and culminates with the verse"that's why I don't love you yet"In a poem by Machado, on the other hand, it is given as advice never follow his advice.
Sometimes, it is said that certain expressions are oxymoron because of a matter of subjective judgment. That is the case with phrases like "military intelligence" or "Smart weapons"; there are those who believe that one should not talk about intelligence in the military field since the techniques or disciplines that seek the destruction of other living beings are not rational.
Some oxymorons are part of the language everyday as "usually", "safe bet", "Lucky accident" or "global village". The inaccuracy of these expressions may go unnoticed by many people, but it is partly responsible for the poverty with which we express ourselves, for the unprotectedness we face in the face of formal situations and technical definitions.
It should be noted that, according to the Royal Spanish Academy (RAE) , the term oxymoron must remain unchanged in the plural, although it is also valid to use the word oxymorons .