Richard-Business Eng
Professional Teacher
Oxymorons... words that mean the opposite of each other
An oxymoron is a figure of speech that uses two words together that have, or seem to have, opposite meanings
A good example of an oxymoron comes from the debut album by English rock band Oasis, which is named ‘Definitely Maybe’. 
Almost exactly
Alone together
Clearly misunderstood
Minor catastrophe
Pretty ugly
Small crowd
Working vacation
Jumbo shrimp
Open secret
Seriously funny
Original copies
Virtual reality
Paid volunteers
Exact estimate 
Deafening silence

These words may mean the opposite, but the terms (the two words) are used by native English speakers and we often use the terms (the oxymorons) as having a real meaning.

Jun 13, 2020 11:39 AM
Comments · 14
Hi Richard, good thread.
Let me ask you a question regarding one of your examples: "pretty ugly". Do you not think that "pretty" could have another meaning and so could not be considered as a true oxymoron? or, does an oxymoron exist not taking into account what meaning are we referring to?
I mean, are we not using "pretty" as an adverb instead of an adjetive? and, if so, I would say subsequently that there are no opposite meanings.

To finish, I add another oxymoron, that I once heard, to your list: military intelligence.
June 16, 2020
Thanks Richard for an interesting topic.

I could add 'cautious optimism'
and what I believe is or was a political party in Canada - 'Progressive Conservative'.

I'm not sure about the first three on your list, in which the first word qualifies the second without contradicting it in principle i.e. by definition.
For example 'we found ourselves alone together ; everyone else had gone'.
'I realised later that I had clearly misunderstood the situation'

Does an oxymoron mean any consecutive use of words with apparently opposite meanings, or is it only those which in context are opposites ?
June 16, 2020
Is it possible to have an:
"oxymoron moron"
June 16, 2020
My personal pet hate - "One of the only..."
June 16, 2020
Thank you, Richard. I really like this one 😄
June 16, 2020
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Richard-Business Eng
Language Skills
English, French
Learning Language