noun \ˈper-ə-ˌdäks, ˈpa-rə-\

: something (such as a situation) that is made up of two opposite things and that seems impossible but is actually true or possible

: someone who does two things that seem to be opposite to each other or who has qualities that are opposite

: a statement that seems to say two opposite things but that may be true

Full Definition of PARADOX

:  a tenet contrary to received opinion
a :  a statement that is seemingly contradictory or opposed to common sense and yet is perhaps true
b :  a self-contradictory statement that at first seems true
c :  an argument that apparently derives self-contradictory conclusions by valid deduction from acceptable premises
:  one (as a person, situation, or action) having seemingly contradictory qualities or phases

Examples of PARADOX

  1. It is a paradox that computers need maintenance so often, since they are meant to save people time.
  2. As an actor, he's a paradox—he loves being in the public eye but also deeply values and protects his privacy.
  3. a novel full of paradox
  4. For the actors, the goal was a paradox: real emotion, produced on cue. —Claudia Roth Pierpont, New Yorker, 27 Oct. 2008

Origin of PARADOX

Latin paradoxum, from Greek paradoxon, from neuter of paradoxos contrary to expectation, from para- + dokein to think, seem — more at decent
First Known Use: 1540

Other Logic Terms

a posteriori, connotation, corollary, inference, mutually exclusive, postulate, syllogism


noun \ˈpar-ə-ˌdäks\   (Medical Dictionary)

Medical Definition of PARADOX

: an instance of a paradoxical phenomenon or reaction


noun    (Concise Encyclopedia)

Apparently self-contradictory statement whose underlying meaning is revealed only by careful scrutiny. Its purpose is to arrest attention and provoke fresh thought, as in the statement “Less is more.” In poetry, paradox functions as a device encompassing the tensions of error and truth simultaneously, not necessarily by startling juxtapositions but by subtle and continuous qualifications of the ordinary meanings of words. When a paradox is compressed into two words, as in “living death,” it is called an oxymoron.


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