par·a·dox·i·cal | \ˌper-ə-ˈdäk-si-kəl, ˌpa-rə-\

Definition of paradoxical 

1a : of the nature of a paradox the paradoxical theory that global warming will lead to the next Ice Age

b : inclined to paradoxes

2 : not being the normal or usual kind a paradoxical pulse paradoxical drug reactions

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Other Words from paradoxical

paradoxicality \ˌper-ə-ˌdäk-si-ˈka-lə-tē, ˌpa-rə- \ noun
paradoxically \ˌper-ə-ˈdäk-si-k(ə-)lē, ˌpa-rə- \ adverb
paradoxicalness \ˌper-ə-ˈdäk-si-kəl-nəs, ˌpa-rə- \ noun

Examples of paradoxical in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

The indigenous cultures of this paradoxical region, which is both Himalayan and tropical, Buddhist and animist, have kept alive many animist beliefs. Lawrence Osborne, Town & Country, "The Hidden Power of Orchids," 14 Apr. 2017 But the play’s paradoxical power to elicit the feelings of being both sucker punched and tickled remains undiminished, perhaps especially for American theatergoers. Ben Brantley, New York Times, "Orlando Bloom and Aidan Turner Are Drenched in Blood in London," 4 July 2018 It’s characterized by a sense of paradoxical ineffability. Hope Reese, Longreads, "‘I Was a Storm of Confetti’: Michael Pollan On Why It’s a Good Idea To Lose Your Self," 30 May 2018 But anti-poverty advocates say that is paradoxical: Drivers who cannot afford to pay a fine and lose their licenses can no longer drive to work to earn income to pay the debt. Reis Thebault, Washington Post, "In D.C., no more license suspensions for drivers with unpaid tickets," 12 July 2018 Throughout her reflections about paradoxical literary realities, cultural contrasts, and the natures of evil, power and suffering — Cusk steadily ponders the idea of individual agency. Joan Frank,, "‘Kudos,’ by Rachel Cusk," 6 July 2018 The conjunction of the most anti-immigration presidency in generations with a strong pro-immigration shift in public opinion may seem paradoxical. Matthew Yglesias, Vox, "Support for immigration is surging in the Trump era," 5 July 2018 The fact that an ordinary, even pedestrian technology like a smartphone app is facilitating and even exacerbating this situation in Seattle is paradoxical, given that American technology is such a symbol of wealth and opportunity. Dae Shik Kim Hawkins, The Atlantic, "An App for Ejecting the Homeless," 28 June 2018 Maybe a bull in a china shop, or Sophia’s paradoxical presence in a book largely written, and interpreted, by men. Lauren Warnecke,, "Moving Company’s ‘Dance Shelter’ always defies expectations; sometimes, it works," 11 May 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'paradoxical.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of paradoxical

1598, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

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Last Updated

9 Oct 2018

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Time Traveler for paradoxical

The first known use of paradoxical was in 1598

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More Definitions for paradoxical


par·a·dox·i·cal | \ˌpar-ə-ˈdäk-si-kəl \
variants: also paradoxic \-sik \

Medical Definition of paradoxical 

: not being the normal or usual kind a paradoxical embolism

More from Merriam-Webster on paradoxical

Spanish Central: Translation of paradoxical

Nglish: Translation of paradoxical for Spanish Speakers

Comments on paradoxical

What made you want to look up paradoxical? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


exaggeratedly or childishly emotional

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