Juxtaposition vs Oxymoron: Difference and Comparison

The word ‘juxtaposition’, when used as a verb, describes placing two elements together to examine or compare them. This is done to determine their contrast, differences, or similarities.

On the other hand, the word ‘oxymoron’ is a figure of speech in which two terms with contradictory meanings are placed together. The terms may be ideas, emotions, personalities, characters, etc.

Key Takeaways

  1. Juxtaposition is placing two things close together for comparison or contrast, while oxymoron is a figure of speech that combines two contradictory terms for effect.
  2. Juxtaposition is a literary device used to highlight differences or similarities, while oxymoron is used to create a paradoxical effect or add emphasis.
  3. While both techniques combine different elements, juxtaposition is more commonly used in visual arts and literature, while oxymoron is used mainly in literature and rhetoric.

Juxtaposition vs Oxymoron

Juxtaposition is related to the comparison of two elements. In juxtaposition, elements can be the same or opposite. Juxtaposition can be used as a noun or a verb. Oxymoron is related to the placement of two opposite elements together. Oxymoron is considered a type of juxtaposition. Oxymoron can only be used as a noun.

Juxtaposition vs

Comparison Table

Parameters of ComparisonJuxtapositionOxymoron
MeaningJuxtaposition is a phrase that describes a situation where two elements are placed together for examination or comparison.Oxymoron is a figure of speech used for a situation where two contradictory terms or elements are placed together closely.
RelationIn some cases, a juxtaposition can be an oxymoron.Oxymoron is a specific kind of juxtaposition.
Contradiction between termsIn a juxtaposition, it is not necessary for the elements to be contradictory.In the case of an oxymoron, it is necessary for the elements to be contradictory or have contradictory meanings.
UsageThe word ‘juxtaposition’ can be used in the form of a noun as well as a verb.The word ‘oxymoron’ can be used only as a noun.
ExampleThe TV series shows the juxtaposition of beliefs between the two people.The relationship between the two people in the TV series is ‘bitter-sweet’.

What is Juxtaposition?

The word ‘Juxtaposition’ can be applied in the form of a noun or a verb. When used as a noun, it refers to a situation where two elements are placed together to examine their contrast, similarities, or differences.


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When used as a verb (juxtaposed or juxtaposing), it refers to placing elements in juxtaposition.

The term may also be used in different ways depending on the context. According to one’s visual perception, juxtaposition describes the nearness of two objects or things without any detail that relates them.

According to grammar rules, the word refers to a situation where the conjunctions between two words are missing, for example, mother or father.

When used in arts, a juxtaposition refers to two closely-placed elements that generate an effect on the audience through contrast. At the same time, when used in music, it describes an abrupt change in musical elements.

According to logical reasoning, the word is used when it is implied that two elements correlate even though they have none.

The varied usage of the word can make it quite troublesome to understand its meaning. A simple example of juxtaposition (noun) is ‘you should never talk out of fear, but you should never fear to talk either’.

The sentence shows two different concepts that are placed together.

What is Oxymoron?

An oxymoron is a specific juxtaposition that combines two elements to amplify their contrast. It has been used as a figure of speech in numerous literary works of writers, authors, and poets worldwide.

It is common for an oxymoron to create a certain effect on the reader or listener, which grabs their attention.

An oxymoron can be of many types, the most common being adjective-noun combinations and comical oxymorons. The elements used to create these figures of speech include ideas, emotions, objects, personalities, tastes, characters, etc.

An objective-noun combination means that the first word of the oxymoron is an adjective, while the second word is a noun. For example, sweet pain, loud silence, adorable mischief, falsely true, fearfully brave, etc.

The elements that make up each of these phrases conflict with each other.

An oxymoron is said to be comical when it leaves a humorous effect on the reader or listener. Many comedians use oxymorons in their material or as the premise of their routine.

For example, George Carlin performed an entire routine about how ‘military intelligence’ and ‘business ethics‘ should be considered an oxymoron.

Main Differences Between Juxtaposition and Oxymoron

  1. Juxtaposition is a phrase that describes a situation where two terms are placed together closely for examination. On the other hand, an oxymoron is a figure of speech in which two contradictory terms are placed together.
  2. In the case of juxtaposition, the terms don’t need to be contradictory, whereas, in the case of an oxymoron, the terms must be contrary.
  3. The word ‘juxtaposition’ can be used as a noun or a verb, whereas ‘oxymoron’ can only be used as a noun.
  4. A juxtaposition is not always an oxymoron.
  5. An oxymoron is a specific kind of juxtaposition.
Difference Between Juxtaposition and


  1. https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Rajaa_Flayih/publication/308633041_A_Linguistic_Study_of_Oxymoron/links/57e95e6408aeb34bc08fce27/A-Linguistic-Study-of-Oxymoron.pdf
  2. https://brill.com/view/book/9789004417441/BP000010.xml
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