First attested in the 5th century, from Ancient Greek ὀξύμωρος (oxúmōros), from Ancient Greek ὀξύς (oxús, “sharp, keen”) + μωρός (mōrós, “dull, stupid”)
oxymōrus (feminine oxymōra, neuter oxymōrum); first/second declension
- oxymoronic; of or pertaining to a figure of speech in which two words with opposing meanings are used together intentionally for effect, as in the following:
- 63 BCE, Cicero, Catiline Orations (Latin text and English translations here). Cic. Catil. 1.8.21
- de te autem, Catilina, cum quiescunt, probant, cum patiuntur, decernunt, cum tacent, clamant.
- But to you, Catiline, by keeping quiet they approve, by allowing me to speak they vote, by their silence they shout out loud.
- "capti potvere capi cum felle dictum est: nam si hoc removeas, erit oxymorum."
- oxymorus in Charlton T. Lewis and Charles Short (1879) A Latin Dictionary, Oxford: Clarendon Press
- oxymorus in Gaffiot, Félix (1934) Dictionnaire Illustré Latin-Français, Hachette