Do you know what an oxymoron is? This video starts with a quick definition of oxymorons. They’re a funny part of the English language! Oxymorons are figures of speech that have two contradicting terms. Using oxymorons correctly will make your English speaking and writing more descriptive. They’re fun to learn and are a great boost for your vocabulary, too. In this lesson, I’ll share 20 oxymorons that are common in everyday English, I’ll explain them, and I’ll give you examples of how they are used. So don’t be scared! Oxymorons are fun and easy! Take the quiz at http://www.engvid.com/what-is-an-oxymoron/ to make sure you know these phrases correctly, then start using them in your own conversations!
Ah. Hey, everyone. I’m Alex. Thanks for clicking, and welcome to this lesson on “20 English Oxymorons”. So, let’s get right to it. An “oxymoron” is a figure of speech that has two contradictory or opposite words appearing side by side. So, basically, it’s a combination of two words that really have opposite meanings, but we use them, you know, regularly in sentences and phrases.
So, the origin of the word “oxymoron” is from the Greek for “oxy” and “moron”, which means sharp and dull. “Dull” is the opposite of “sharp”. So, you can have a sharp knife or a dull knife. A dull knife doesn’t cut very well. Right? Which itself is oxymoronic. So, these combinations of words here are oxymoronic.
What I’m going to do in this video is first I will review every single one of the oxymorons. So, if you are already a native English speaker, you can kind of just read the oxymorons with me, get a good laugh, continue with your day, and watch whatever other cat videos you want to watch today on YouTube. And if you are a non-native English speaker, after reviewing everything, I’m going to go back one by one, and give a more detailed explanation. All right? So, let’s begin.
Number one: “alone together”, “crash landing”, “devout atheist”, “exact estimate”, “found missing”, “minor miracle”, “old news”, “only choice”, “freezer burn”, “growing smaller”, “jumbo shrimp”, “loosely sealed”, “loud whisper”, “original copy”, “same difference”, “seriously funny”, “small crowd”, “student teacher”, “unbiased opinion”, “working vacation”. Okay.
Now, let’s look at these one by one, and explain why they are oxymoronic. One: “alone together”. The word “alone” means to be by yourself, so how can you be alone when there’s another person or a group of people with you? You’re not alone. You’re with other people. Right? Okay.
A “crash landing”. So, an airplane can land or it can crash. Right? So, these things are opposites. “To crash” means to just smash into the ground, and “to land” typically means to land smoothly with the plane, and to touch down with no problems. So, a crash landing doesn’t really make sense.
A “devout atheist”. So, an atheist is a person who doesn’t believe in God. The word “devout” is an adjective that means highly devoted, usually in a spiritual sense. So, can an atheist show, like, devotion to not believing in something? Usually, if you are a devout, for example, a devout Christian or a devout Muslim or a devout Hindu – you show devotion to, you know, your God or your Gods. Whereas an atheist doesn’t really have a God or believe in God, so they can’t really have devotion for something. Right?
All right. An “exact estimate”. An estimate is a guess, it’s not exactly a precise figure. So, if you go to the mechanic to fix your car and you ask: “How much money will this cost?” and the mechanic says: “Probably $400-$450”, that’s the estimate. Now, “exact” means exactly the number. You can’t estimate exactly the number. You can only estimate a guess, or around a specific number.
“Found missing”. So, if a child goes missing, they get lost or kidnapped from their parents, and then they are found by the police, in the news people say: “The child was found missing.” But you found them, so they’re not missing anymore. Right? Okay.
Next: “minor miracle”. Going back to the religious term a little bit. A miracle is something that cannot be explained by science. It’s something that is so amazing that it goes against the laws of nature. So, really, something is miraculous, it’s amazing, incredible. It can’t be small, it can’t be minor. It’s something massive and huge. Right?
Next: “old news”. “News” means things that are current, things that are happening now. So, how can news be old? Maybe yesterday’s news kind of, but really, the two terms collide with each other.
Next: “only choice”. Now, “choice” means you have more than one option. Okay? If you only have one choice, that’s not a choice. So you can’t have an only choice, you must have multiple choices. All right?