The UVic Writer's Guide
An oxymoron is a type of paradox that combines two terms ordinarily seen as opposites, such as
Milton's description of God in Paradise Lost as "Dark with excessive bright." The oxymoron was a common form
of Petrarchan conceit.
When he introduced the word "maturity" to the English language,
Sir Thomas Elyot explained its meaning in a traditional oxymoron:
"The Greeks in a proverb do express it properly in two words,
which I can none otherwise interpret in English, but `speed thee
slowly' " (1545).
Literary Terms (By Category)
Literary Terms (Alphabetized)
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Copyright, The Department of English, University of Victoria,
This page updated September 23, 1995