different between oxymoron vs portmanteau




First attested in the 17th century, noun use of 5th century Latin oxym?rum (adj), neut. nom. form of oxym?rus (adj), from Ancient Greek ???????? (oxúm?ros), compound of ???? (oxús, sharp, keen, pointed) (English oxy-, as in oxygen) + ????? (m?rós, dull, stupid, foolish) (English moron (stupid person)). Literally "sharp-dull", "keen-stupid", or "pointed-foolish" – itself an oxymoron, hence autological; compare sophomore (literally wise fool), influenced by similar analysis. The compound form ???????? (oxúm?ron) is not found in the extant Ancient Greek sources.


  • (UK) IPA(key): /?ks??m????n/
  • (US) enPR: äk-s?-môr?-än, äk-s?-môr?-än, IPA(key): /??ksi?m???n/, /?ks??m???n/


oxymoron (plural oxymorons or oxymora)

  1. (rhetoric) A figure of speech in which two words or phrases with opposing meanings are used together intentionally for effect.
    • 1996, John Sinclair, "Culture and Trade: Some Theoretical and Practical Considerations", in Emile G. McAnany, Kenton T. Wilkinson (eds.), Mass Media and Free Trade: NAFTA and the Cultural Industries, University of Texas Press
      For Theodor Adorno and his colleagues at the Frankfurt School who coined the term, "culture industry" was an oxymoron, intended to set up a critical contrast between the exploitative, repetitive mode of industrial mass production under capitalism and the associations of transformative power and aesthetico-moral transcendence that the concept of culture carried in the 1940s, when it still meant "high" culture.
  2. (loosely, sometimes proscribed) A contradiction in terms.

Usage notes

  • Historically, an oxymoron was "a paradox with a point", or "pointedly foolish: a witty saying, the more pointed from being paradoxical or seemingly absurd" at first glance. Its deliberate purpose was to underscore a point or to draw attention to a concealed point. The common vernacular use of oxymoron as simply a contradiction in terms is considered incorrect by some speakers and writers, and is perhaps best avoided in certain contexts.


  • pleonasm, redundancy

Derived terms

  • oxymoronic
  • oxymoronically
  • oxymoronicity
  • oxymoronicness

Related terms


See also

  • Category:English oxymorons
  • contranym


Further reading

  • Oxymoron on Wikipedia.Wikipedia
  • Lee’s Complete Oxymoron List, with discussion of classification (archive)

oxymoron From the web:

  • what oxymoron does the bachelor use
  • what oxymoron means
  • what oxymoron does romeo use
  • what oxymoron device was used in the poem
  • what oxymoron was used in the poem a photograph
  • what is oxymoron and give examples
  • what does oxymoron



Alternative forms

  • (travelling case): portmantua
  • (schoolbag): (shortening) port, (shortening) school port


  • (Received Pronunciation) IPA(key): /p??t?mæn.t??/
  • (US) enPR: pôrtm?'nt?, pô'rtm?nt??, IPA(key): /p???t?mænto?/, /?p???tmæn?to?/

Etymology 1

French portemanteau (coat stand), from porte (carry) + manteau (coat).


portmanteau (plural portmanteaus or portmanteaux)

  1. A large travelling case usually made of leather, and opening into two equal sections.
  2. (Australia, dated) A schoolbag.
  3. (archaic) A hook on which to hang clothing.

Etymology 2

First used by Lewis Carroll in Through The Looking Glass to describe the words he coined in Jabberwocky.


portmanteau (not comparable)

  1. (attributive, linguistics) Made by combining two (or more) words, stories, etc., in the manner of a linguistic portmanteau.


portmanteau (plural portmanteaus or portmanteaux)

  1. (linguistics) A portmanteau word.
    Synonyms: blend, frankenword, portmanteau word

Derived terms

  • portmanteau film
  • portmanteau word


portmanteau (third-person singular simple present portmanteaus, present participle portmanteauing, simple past and past participle portmanteaued)

  1. To make a portmanteau word.

See also

  • List of portmanteau words defined in Wiktionary
  • Wikipedia article on portmanteaus (cases and words)

portmanteau From the web:

  • what's portmanteau mean
  • what portmanteau words means
  • portmanteau what does this mean
  • what are portmanteau words
  • what does portmanteau mean in english
  • what does portmanteau
  • what does portmanteau mean in french
  • what is portmanteau morpheme

you may also like