...here's an example!

What's an 'oxymoron'? It's a pair of back-to-back words or phrases that mean exactly the opposite.
For example, 'Country & Western' really isn't music! Get it? O.K., bad example. Here's a better one.

'The small child was found missing yesterday.'

Found and missing are opposites. But when used together in a sentence, they make an oxymoron.

Got the idea? Here's another:

'When Megan saw the length of the English test, she gave a silent scream.'

Normally screams are the opposite of silence, so that's an oxymoron. Sometimes an oxymoron's unusualness makes a very effective tool in writing; the idea you're trying to get across is more vividly described when you use an oxymoron. Especially if it's a unique one! For example, 'clearly misunderstood', or Shakespeare's 'sweet sorrow' (he was good at oxymorons!)
Sometimes, though, the oxymoron happens by accident, and may be amusing; for example, diet ice cream.

Here are some more examples.

Soft rock Sweet sorrow Taped live Synthetic natural gas
Plastic glass Working vacation Exact estimate Pretty ugly
Business ethics Political science Definite maybe "Now, then ..."
Gov't organization Sanitary landfill Military Intelligence Act naturally

My daughter Emily is an amazing writer; I was easily able to find several oxymorons of hers:
hauntingly peaceful         murky blackness            
They're from her story 'How Long Does It Take to Drown'. It's in the Short Stories section of this website.

O.K., we're terribly pleased that you now understand almost exactly what oxymorons are, so no-one can now call you a butt head, even when you're alone together.

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