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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

  1. 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.


First/second declension.

Number Singular Plural
Case / Gender Masculine Feminine Neuter Masculine Feminine Neuter
nominative oxymōrus oxymōra oxymōrum oxymōrī oxymōrae oxymōra
genitive oxymōrī oxymōrae oxymōrī oxymōrōrum oxymōrārum oxymōrōrum
dative oxymōrō oxymōrō oxymōrīs
accusative oxymōrum oxymōram oxymōrum oxymōrōs oxymōrās oxymōra
ablative oxymōrō oxymōrā oxymōrō oxymōrīs
vocative oxymōre oxymōra oxymōrum oxymōrī oxymōrae oxymōra


"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