Amusing Oxymorons

Definition of Oxymoron

Oxymorons are literary figures of speech usually composed of a pair of neighboring contradictory words (often within a sentence). A simpler way of saying this is … An oxymoron is a combination of words that contradict each other. However, this is not always the case. Webster’s Dictionary defines oxymoron as “a combination of contradictory or incongruous words”.


"jumbo shrimp"

Oxymorons can be used for dramatic effect, such as crash landing and deafening silence. They can also be amusing or comical, such as in criminal justice. Clearly this is not an oxymoron in the true and strict sense, but the suggestion that it is oxymoronic is humorous.

Perhaps the most well-known of all oxymorons is Jumbo Shrimp, at least in the United States. Now in the UK, a Jumbo Shrimp is better known as a King Prawn.


Take a good look at the paragraph below – –  Notice anything strange about it?

It makes some sort of sense — but it is loaded with contradictions as well.

These are called oxymorons.

Now read the paragraph that follows.

Have you ever noticed that it’s simply impossible to find seriously funny oxymorons online? The only choice is to ask one of those paid volunteers at the library – the ones in the long-sleeved T-shirts – for an original copy of some obviously obscure documents that were found missing amongst some paperwork almost exactly one hundred years ago.


Here is a collection of 100 amusing oxymorons — That is oxymorons in a “loose sense” of the word — Enjoy 🙂

  1. accidentally on purpose
  2. act naturally
  3. adult children
  4. Advanced BASIC
  5. alone together
  6. almost done
  7. almost exactly
  8. almost perfect
  9. Anarchy Rules!
  10. barely dressed
  11. bitter sweet
  12. blind eye
  13. butt-head
  14. clean dirt
  15. clearly confused
  16. clearly misunderstood
  17. clogged drain
  18. constant change
  19. constant variable
  20. crash landing
  21. criminal justice
  22. deafening silence
  23. definite maybe
  24. definite possibility
  25. detailed summary
  26. Dodge Ram
  27. dry lake
  28. even odds
  29. exact estimate
  30. extinct life
  31. fail safe
  32. first annual
  33. found missing
  34. free love
  35. free trade
  36. freezer burn
  37. friendly fire
  38. front end
  39. fuzzy logic
  40. genuine imitation
  41. good grief
  42. Great Depression
  43. Hell’s Angels
  44. high ground
  45. Holy War
  46. home office
  47. hot chili
  48. ill health
  49. industrial park
  50. inside out
  51. jumbo shrimp
  52. larger half
  53. legally drunk
  54. light tanks
  55. liquid gas
  56. living dead
  57. long-sleeved T-shirt
  58. loose tights
  59. mild sensation
  60. military intelligence
  61. minor crisis
  62. near miss
  63. new tradition
  64. now then
  65. numb sensation
  66. obviously obscure
  67. old news
  68. once again
  69. only choice
  70. open secret
  71. original copy
  72. paid volunteer
  73. Park Drive
  74. peace force
  75. peacekeeping missile
  76. plastic glasses
  77. plastic silverware
  78. pretty ugly
  79. real phony
  80. recent history
  81. rolling stop
  82. same difference
  83. sanitary landfill
  84. seriously funny
  85. silent scream
  86. simply impossible
  87. stand down
  88. stationary orbit
  89. student teacher
  90. sweet sorrow
  91. Sweet Tart
  92. taped live
  93. tight slacks
  94. tragic comedy
  95. turn up missing
  96. unbiased opinion
  97. vegetarian meatballs
  98. virtual reality
  99. working holiday
  100. working vacation

I know there have to be more oxymorons out there but this was all I was able to come up with for now. Can you think of any others that I missed or overlooked? Your input is encouraged in the comment section below…..

Here are some visual images of oxymorons that need no explanation – They kinda “speak” for themselves ……….




Check out more “unusual” signs under the post titled “Amusing Signs That Make You Wonder” For your convenience, here is the link.

3 Responses

  1. Most of these aren’t oxymorons. The etymology of a lot of these words acquired their meaning through popular use, like shrimp and t-shirt. shrimp was the name of the animal before it meant small, and t-shirt just means a shirt that is usually button and collarless, but the idea that it’s short sleeved is more a cultural convention that anything else. I stopped reading after those first two, but I’m quite positive that many of the rest follow suit.

    • I can appreciate your explanation as to why you don’t consider many of these to be oxymorons in a sense , however, the whole idea of this post as well as this entire blog site has to do with pop culture in itself. As you theorized, quite a few of these (or a majority of them) literally came through popular and cultural use of words over the years. That was the entire purpose of this particular subject/topic – how words evolved over time to mean opposite or contradictory definitions, a number of which are quite humorous or tongue-in-cheek. I still appreciate your input and contribution to this article just the same.

  2. cheesless cheese burger please

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