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oxymoron-type words #101905
04/28/03 09:00 PM
04/28/03 09:00 PM
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anchita Offline OP
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The 'contranym' post made me wonder if there is a named category for words that combine two word-elements with opposing meanings, eg. 'oxymoron' (itself!) comprised of/ derived from 'oxus'=sharp and 'moros'=dull/foolish and 'sophomore' from 'sophos'=wise and 'moros'=dull/foolish.


Re: oxymoron-type words #101906
04/28/03 09:05 PM
04/28/03 09:05 PM
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wofahulicodoc Offline
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Pianoforte is another, and Hofstadter parodied it in his Godel/Escher/Bach dialogues with a computer he called a "smartstupid."

Which says nothing about the name of the class of words. Sorry.


Re: oxymoron-type words #101907
04/28/03 11:59 PM
04/28/03 11:59 PM
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Faldage Offline
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pianoforte

It might be noted that pianoforte is not so much oxymoronic as it is a description of the range available to the instrument. It is capable of playing soft to loud in a way not previously available to instruments of its type.


Re: oxymoron-type words #101908
04/29/03 09:44 AM
04/29/03 09:44 AM
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maahey Offline
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Hi anchita!

if there is a named category for words that combine two word-elements with opposing meanings

But..but..but (scratching head e)isn't THAT what an oxymoron is!!!?? It appears you are referring to words that are not only oxymorons but are also derived from them? A sub-class, maybe?

hmmmm....I imagine oxymorons are mostly phrases concocted with INTENT, for effect; catch phrases designed to project contradiction. And funny though they sound, they ALWAYS mean something and manage to convey it effectively too.

What would be the purpose in creating a contradictory word that derives from similarly inconsistent roots? Take sophomore, for e.g., WHY was it constructed that way? For what purpose or to what end? Are we looking at these roots right, or are we seeing some dendritic mingling with other words over time?


Re: oxymoron-type words #101909
04/29/03 10:21 AM
04/29/03 10:21 AM
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Berlin
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belligerentyouth Offline
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Berlin
> re. pianoforte

It seems the case with many one word 'oxymorons' that, depending on what sort of fuzzy logic a smart fool (or dimwit) uses, you could regard 'gateway' or 'seaport' as oxymorons or at least genuine imitations. I thought the idea of an oxymoron as a label for a truly oxymoronic state (highly ambivalent emotions) was always best exemplified by the 'bitter sweet' feelings of problematic romance which Shakespeare was fond of describing.

- wise fool


Re: oxymoron-type words #101910
04/29/03 10:28 AM
04/29/03 10:28 AM
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Faldage Offline
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wise fool

What said Quinapalus? Better a witty fool than a foolish wit.


Re: oxymoron-type words #101911
05/01/03 07:11 AM
05/01/03 07:11 AM
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anchita Offline OP
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1. ". . . isn't THAT what an oxymoron is!!!??"

Well, oxymoron is used for a phrase and not a word, isn't it?

2. ". . . sophomore, for e.g., WHY was it constructed that way?"

I think it might mean a person who has some wisdom (hence 'sophos'), but is in quest of more, hence still 'foolish' in a some ways (hence 'moros')... like a second year college student.



Re: sophomores #101912
05/01/03 10:30 AM
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Faldage Offline
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AHD suggests that the root was sophumer from sophum, sophism and the breakdown into sophos, wise and moros, dull is something of a folk etymology.

http://www.bartleby.com/61/66/S0566600.html


Re: sophomores #101913
05/01/03 12:39 PM
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For more detail, see Straight Dope at:
http://www.straightdope.com/mailbag/msophomore.html



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