Are You Smarter Than An Oxymoron?

There are some English words and phrases that really bug me because they seem to be self-contradictory. I’ve been collecting these dogs for a while. It’s time to unleash them.

Why do they call them apartments when they’re all stuck together? (I stole this from the comedian Gallagher.)

When you buy a pair of pants, or shorts, or underwear, why do you only get one?

Why do they say something is denuded when it’s actually nuded?

Why do people say “I could care less,” when what they mean is, “I couldn’t care less?”

Why do flammable and inflammable mean the same thing?

Why doesn’t a coconut have chocolate milk?

Why is someone who is your partner with you all the time?

How is it possible to be alone together?

Why is it called commencement when it’s the last thing you do in school?

Why are things manned but never womanned?

How can anything be a random pattern?

Why does a peace officer carry a gun?

Why don’t pineapples grow on pine trees?

Why do people say, “Can I ask you a question?” when that’s a question?

Why is it called a rest room if you never go there to rest?

Why do they call it life insurance when it’s really death insurance?

Why is it called a refrigerator when you only friger things once? (Friger is from the Latin frigerare, to cool, not what you might be thinking.)

How can something be pretty ugly?

How can there be tight slacks?

If you’re a language person, and if you’re reading this you probably are, you must have some of your own. Post them in the comment section.

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One response to “Are You Smarter Than An Oxymoron?

  1. When I saw the title, I scrambled down to the page as fast as I could. Another one that’s heard a lot in our neck of the woods is Hot Water Heater – if it’s already hot, why do you need to heat it?

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