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Basic Biittner : Oxymoronically yours

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

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The dictionary defines an "oxymoron" as a "figure of speech in which apparently contradictory terms appear in conjunction."

If the term is not a familiar one to you, and not understandable from the dictionary definition above, I'm sure you'll get the idea by the time you've finished reading this column.

One of my favorite oxymorons comes from Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Billy Joel, who dubbed "rap music" an oxymoron - rap and music being contradictory terms, in his opinion.

There are literally thousands of oxymorons, but here are a few of my favorites:

Descriptive

pretty ugly, awfully good, awfully nice, awfully pretty,

bitter sweet, barely dressed, cold as Hell, fresh frozen,

pretty disgusting

Government/military

government organization, extensive briefing, friendly takeover,

Postal Service, press release, peace force, military intelligence

Entertainment

baby grand, guest host, recorded live, live on tape

Sports

head butt, athletic scholarship, forward lateral

Computers

Personal Computer, operating system, Microsoft Works

Miscellaneous

plastic glasses, tight slacks, act naturally, active retirement, adult

male, advanced beginner, all alone, friendly divorce, authentic

replica, working vacation, virtual reality, Dodge Ram, work party,

alone together, same difference, business casual, daily special,

educated guess, global village, good beating, good grief, The Great

Depression, nothing much, original copy, plastic silverware, random

order, restless sleep, rubber cement, safe bet, white chocolate.

We'll end with George Carlin's favorite, "jumbo shrimp," and many

women's favorite - "adult male." Talk about an oxymoron!

That's all until next time, when I'll definitely maybe see you.

Dan Whitney
Basic Biittner