Definition of “Oxymoron”
A figure of speech in which contradictory terms appear side by side.
Some of my favorite examples:
open secret pretty ugly
free love military intelligence
extinct life working holiday
freezer burn silent scream
near miss crash landing
taped live peacekeeper missile
old news original copies
The following quote is one of the most famous usages of oxymorons of all time to writers. At the very least it’s an excellent illustration of how this device can be used in prose.
“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way . . .,”
Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities.