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Saint Ignatius High School

Etymology Word of the Week

Director of Admissions Pat O'Rourke '90, a self-proclaimed "word nerd," brings you his Etymology Word of the Week. Every other week he presents an online Etymology lesson just for fun!

Etymology Word of the Week – As some of you know, in addition to working in the Admissions Office, I also teach Latin at Saint Ignatius and am something of a "word nerd."  Thus, each week, I’ll sneak a vocabulary word (sometimes derived from Latin, sometimes not) into the e-blast.  Here, then. is this week’s edition of the Etymology Word of the Week.  


Definition: “Figure of speech joining apparently contradictory words or thoughts to give point to a statement or expression.”  

Origin/Derivation: From the Greek oxymoros, which means “pointedly foolish” and is a compound of oxys meaning “sharp, pointed” and moros meaning “foolish, dull, stupid.”  So yes, the word oxymoron itself is an oxymoron!     

Related Words/Phrases: sophomore, moron; oxygen, epoxy, paroxysm (of laughter), oxide.  

Examples of Oxymorons:
“Seriously funny”
“Awfully good”
“Deafening silence”
“Working vacation”


Photo Caption: "JUMBO Shrimp"

(All information is from, and/or