May 15, 2013

Case File #013.05.15: OXYMORON

Did you know that the word oxymoron is itself an oxymoron? True story. The English noun, which first came into use circa 1657, was derived from the ancient Greek adjective oxymoros, and though the Greek means “markedly foolish,” it was formed from the roots oxys, meaning “keen” (like the edge of a knife), and moros, meaning “stupid.” So in an etymological sense, the noun oxymoron means “sharp dullard.”

©2013 Michael R. Gates

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