The Rhetorical Term Oxymoron

oxymoronOxymoron is a figure of speech in which seemingly contradictory terms appear side by side.

Often we read them as normal unless we think about the incongruity. Some examples I’ve heard and read several times in the past are deafening silence, dull roar, and crash landing.

In Norman in the painting, my novel in progress, I found an oxymoron I used in describing Arctarius’s facial expression. Jill, the protagonist, challenges him about threatening Norman’s life. Arctarius, always the gentleman, gave her a sad smile. The description seems fine, we can visualize it, but sad is contradictory to smile.

Another example in the first draft was when Jill is stabbed by Reggie, she plays dead with a silent scream in her throat.

Do you have a pet Oxymoron?

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