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Oxymoronic Being

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What do you get when you cross living fire with a fish?

Aya: By the way, you're also a living human, aren't you? Why do you work in the Netherworld?
Youmu: Me? I've never thought of that. But I'm a dead human, too, so... hmm.

Starfish Aliens and Eldritch Abominations are plenty strange, but an Oxymoronic Being's mere existence is self-contradictory, like a tall dwarf or a short giant or a kind Demon (in the Christian sense) or an Anthropomorphic Personification of nothing. To make one, take any two mutually exclusive characteristics; anything that somehow has both is an Oxymoronic Being.

And no, "honest politician" doesn't count.

Compare and contrast the Paradox Person, whose existence actually defies the natural order.



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  • Starburst had been running advertisements with people like this for a while; for example, an albino lifeguard or zombies as "living dead". One of them managed to be stunningly offensive by having the "contradictory" traits being Korean ancestry and Scottish nationality. It basically amounted to a painful national stereotype going off on a racist tirade against a kid. Strangely, this is one of the most commonly-run of the series of ads.

    Anime & Manga 
  • There a minor character in Beastars who is a trypophobic giraffe. She is afraid of her own reflection because she is triggered by the sight of her own spots.
  • Dragon Ball Super: Near the end of the Future Trunks Saga, we're met with Fusion Zamasu, who is this trope on two levels:
    • He's a fusion, that much is true. But the weird thing is that he's basically the fusion of the exact same being; one of his components, Goku Black is a version of Zamasu who stole Goku's body using the Super Dragon Balls.
    • He's essentially an immortal who is partially mortal, as Goku Black, was mortal whereas the other, Future Zamasu, possessed Complete Immortality. It's for this reason that his immortality winds up being compromised, and makes him capable of being damaged.
  • In Naruto, Kisame's personal amount of chakra is great enough to draw comparisons to the Tailed Beasts, and thus he has been given the oxymoronic nickname "The Tailed Beast Without a Tail".note  To make this even more hilarious, in spite of his nickname when he fuses with Samehada he does have a tail(fin), though it's possible that those don't "count" as tails in Japanese.
  • One Piece
    • Buggy is a pirate who dresses like a clown and calls himself one, but despises comments made about his clown-like nose. Though he employs blades in combat and his powers revolve around him being immune to them, his true worth lies in his proficiency with explosives. He's a Starter Villain who actually served in one of the most infamous pirate crews in history during his youth and is now the leader of a group of people who are vastly stronger than him.
    • Señor Pink is a disgusting slob who somehow has women fawning over him, is an adult man wearing a baby bonnet and sucking on a pacifier, acts like he doesn't care for his crew mates when his actions and words say otherwise, and has the power of the Swim-Swim Fruit, which lets him swim through solid objects, even though the standard price to pay for eating a Devil Fruit is losing the ability to swim.
  • Gundam Build Fighters is a show about miniature models of giant robots. That's fine. Most of the models exist at the 1/144 scale. Where this gets weird is an episode where a Zaku model appears that dwarfs the rest, being a 1/48 scale model. This machine is part of the Mega Size Model line, but is described as a Giant Zaku...making it a giant miniature model of a giant robot.
  • Karin is basically a human vampire; she doesn't drink blood (she injects it into others instead), is unaffected by sunlight and doesn't have any cool powers, but her blood parents are vampires!
  • Tanaka from Tanaka-kun is Always Listless has put considerable time and effort into doing as little as possible. Even his attending class and dutifully doing his homework come into the equation to make things as easy for himself as he can possibly muster. One of the things that Ohta finds out about Tanaka is that his attention to detail towards this goal is surprisingly manicured, and he strikes a very delicate balance in order to laze out inconsequentially and without drawing too much attention to what he's doing. The guy excels at being a Lazy Bum.

    Card Games 
  • Yu-Gi-Oh!:
    • The Anteatereatingant.note  ... which is translated hilariously (or stupidly) wrong in German, where it's now called "Anteating Anteater".
    • The Fire Kraken, a Fire element, Aqua type monster. Fire breathing squids seems to be a recurring theme in Japanese media.
    • The Chemicritters are similar to Fire Kraken in that their Type/Attribute combinations make little sense; Carbon Crab is a Fire Aqua Type and Oxy Ox is a Wind Beast Type, and Hydro Hawk is a Water Winged Beast Type. (While there are a few of those combinations in the game, most have an ice theme; Hydro Hawk is a bird made of fluid.) The higher-level Chemicritters make more sense, however.
  • In Magic: The Gathering, the Izzet League's Weirds combine two opposing elements into a single creature. They also make great pets!

    Comic Books 
  • Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird have claimed that they at first came up with the idea of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles because they wanted to create an absurd satire and thought that "turtle" and "ninja" were pretty oxymoronic. (A turtle is a slow, clumsy creature, not one that suggests a martial artist that relies on stealth.) To their surprise, the concept turned out far better received than they thought it would.
  • Loki is technically a small giant, since he's the son of the Frost Giants' king and is about the same size as an average Asgardian.
  • Technically speaking, Daredevil's super senses allow him to see as well or better as a person with regular vision. So he's a blind superhero without actually being completely blind.
  • The Ultimates (2015) points out that Master Chaos, an Anthropomorphic Personification of chaos, doesn't make a whole lot of sense if he's part of a balanced system with his counterpart, Lord Order, and is therefore inherently weaker than his brother.
  • Oxymoron: The Big Bad Oxymoron has a modus operandi where he "corrects" (murders) other people for being contradictory. By his own logic, he himself is not an oxymoron since he strives to be pure evil. This is just in his head, however, and he'll come up with any excuse to kill someone, no matter how far-fetched.

    Comic Strips 
  • One FoxTrot series had Roger purchase a mobile phone that isn't "mobile" in any sense of the word: it's about three feet tall, weighs a metaphorical ton thanks to its solid steel construction, and it has to be plugged into a wall socket for powernote .

    Fan Works 
  • In Thieves Can Be Heroes!, Izuku's status as a phantom thief gets discussed because of this trope. Heroes are widely recognized and popular guardians of the law. The fact that his dream of becoming a Hero is his catalyst for becoming a shifty thief who continuously subverts the law seems contradictory. But it's explained that it's his desire to become a Hero in spite of everything that says he can't is what makes his desire rebellious enough to awaken his Persona.
  • There are quite a few Touken Ranbu fan works that feature female touken danshi. Touken danshi can't be female by definition.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Avengers: Infinity War: Eitri, the sole surviving dwarf... who is on the order of ten feet tall, making him taller than the Hulk or Thanos, to say nothing of everybody he actually interacts with in the film. Made even better by him being played by Peter Dinklage.

  • To demonstrate that You Cannot Grasp the True Form, the opening of the Confessions juxtaposes the necessary characteristics of God that seem impossible to maintain together, like His extreme activity and extreme restfulness or His ability to cause change and His immutability.
  • Discworld:
    • Due to his being adopted, Captain Carrot Ironfoundersson is a dwarf who stands at 6 feet 3 inches in his socks. The other dwarfs accept him as one of them because he is devoutly observant of their traditions and even tries to teach his girlfriend to speak Dwarfish. He's just a tall dwarf.
    • Bloody Stupid Johnson can create circles where "the pi is exactly 3". Pi (the ratio of diameter to circumference) is, by definition, always 3.14159265358979323846264338 and a bit. The only way to make this possible is to imagine a circle being drawn in a non-euclidean 2D world. Even in a non-Euclidean world, pi stays the same. The ratio of circumference and diameter of circle is not fixed in non-Euclidean geometry, but it converges to pi (with its regular value) for small radius. His architecture is very weird as a result.
    • There are also occasional mentions in the Discworld of mystics who can see "four-sided triangles" when they meditate.
    • Some werewolves are born without the ability to transform, making them indistinguishable from a human or a wolf except for any offspring they have still being werewolves since they are still biologically werewolves even if they don't fit the definition of werewolf.
  • Saint Bernard opens up the final canto of The Divine Comedy by referring to Mary as the "Virgin Mother, daughter of your Son." The theological strangeness of Mary has never been so concisely put as in this opening prayer by her greatest devotee.
  • Dragon Bones has Oreg, who is a solid ghost. He can vanish and materialize himself elsewhere and all that, but when someone touches him feels solid like a normal human being. And he isn't entirely dead, either. It's very complicated.
  • In The Lost Years of Merlin, Shem in the first book is a tiny person (even shorter than child Merlin) who claims he is a giant. This is confirmed when Shem sacrifices himself to destroy the Cauldron of Death to save Merlin. He immediately comes back to life and starts getting bigger and bigger... It turns out he was born to giants, but apparently had dwarfism.
  • The Phantom Tollbooth:
    • Milo meets an average-looking man who claims to be "the smallest giant in the world", who lives next door to "the tallest midget in the world", the thinnest fat man and the fattest skinny guy. They're all the same guy.
    • There's also Canby, warden of the Island of Conclusions (you get there by jumping), who among other things is smart as can be and stupid as can be.
    • The triple demons of Compromise are described as "one fat, one thin, and a third exactly like the other two." (The illustrations show it as fat in part of its body and skinny in another part.)
  • In Witch Week, a novel by Diana Wynne Jones, Simon unintentionally turns himself into one while under a "Simon Says" spell that makes everything he says true. He first claims that he doesn't know anything, then mindlessly repeats a teacher who says he's not that much of a fool, resulting in him being both stupid and clever at the same time.

    Live-Action TV 
  • An episode of Galavant has Galavant getting caught up in a clash between a tribe of very tall dwarves and a tribe of very short giants. They're two bunches of guys of average height and not even they can keep track of who is which.
  • In an episode of Weird Science, Gary and Wyatt ask Lisa to make them into vampires so that they can invoke Vampires Are Sex Gods (or at any rate become cool enough to be admitted inside a nightclub). She points out they probably don't want to start feeding on the innocent, so they ask her to make them into vampires that don't suck blood at all. She does.

    Myths & Religion 
  • Christianity:
    • The doctrine of the Trinity states that God is one god, and yet also three persons simultaneously. No one's entirely certain just how that works; that's why it's called a divine mystery.
    • As defined at the Council of Chalcedon, Jesus is one person who is both fully God and fully man.
    • The philosopher Søren Kierkegaard thought that God becoming human was such a perfect oxymoron that it made a great target for faith that was specifically not based on reason.
    • Both the Incarnation and Trinity, mentioned earlier, have been argued as being contradictions, thus logically impossible. Other attributes of God have also been argued to be incompatible, such as being perfect vs. a creator (a perfect being has no reason to create things), changeless vs. omniscient (a changeless being cannot know things different times, but it's required for omniscience) and transcendent vs. omnipresent (a transcendent being must be outside space-time, but an omnipresent being must be everywhere), to name a few of them. Responses have been made of course, and new arguments after that, so the debate continues.
  • In Classical Mythology, the hippogriff is half horse and half griffin. However, since griffins hate horses and attack them on sight, it's hard to imagine how this could happen. That was the point, originally. The Roman poet Virgil referred to the birth of hippogriffs alongside several other Cue the Flying Pigs-style metaphors for things that couldn't happen in real life, akin to "the lion shall lie down with the lamb" or "dogs and cats living together, mass hysteria!"
  • The Undead, in all of their various forms. Despite the fact that they are dead and shouldn't be able to do anything but rot in their graves, they somehow can still interact with the living. This contradictory nature is also what makes them such formidable foes. Not even death itself could stop them. What makes you think the heroes can? Undead that heal themselves quickly or even regenerate (common in video games and RPGs) make even less sense. How exactly can something that's dead heal? Then you start wondering how they can eat (do their digestive tracts even work?) see, hear, and all of a sudden the whole concept makes no sense at all. One possible response would be saying they are no longer dead, but they only used to be, and they're alive once more (albeit in a different form).
  • In Norse Mythology: Alviss, a 5'9" giant. A giant dwarf. Norse mythology also includes "giants" who are portrayed as being of rather ordinary size, like Loki. Bear in mind, the identification of Norse "dvergar" and "jötnar" with "dwarves" and "giants" is most likely a product of later writers who were not themselves Norse pagans.
  • In the Yoruba mythology, the supreme god is composed of three separate entities (Olodumare, Olorun and Olofi) who despite having separate roles are considered the same being. Further adding to the confusion is that unlike Jesus, it/they aren't given any sort of personification, as beyond their roles and names the three supreme being aspects are considered "unknowable" and are properly referred to as an "it" with no gender pronouns, as it is considered the "all-encompassing" aspect of existence.
  • In medieval heraldry, there are many imaginary beasts composed by mixing up two unlikely animals. This is possibly based on the concept of splitting a shield down the middle and having half of each noble family's device on each half of the shield.
  • The common Parody Religion known as the "Invisible Pink Unicorn": If it's always invisible, what does it even mean it's pink? (It's a combination of reason and faith: we know that she is invisible because we can't see her, but we believe that she is pink.)
  • Also the Invisible Red String of Fate, which is one of the things the Invisible Pink Unicorn references.
  • The ancient Epicureans argued that centaurs could not exist (the belief in them was common at the time, and they also appear in many myths) since, if you really think about it, they make no sense. How could a man eat what a horse needs? Along with that, how does their body even work, since they have two stomachs? Etc.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Dungeons & Dragons:
    • The Spelljammer setting has enormous hamsters living between the worlds, appropriately known as giant space hamsters. There's also a lesser-known tiny variety, the miniature giant space hamster, which for most intents and purposes is merely a hamster. (They're best known for appearing in Baldur's Gate, in which one character has one as a pet. Well, maybe. He's not exactly sane enough to be a reliable source on that.)
    • Another example is the Xeg-Yi, mentioned in the Planescape campaign and a few other sources. It is native to the Negative Energy Plane, which is a plane of, well, negative energy, something associated with death. Most inhabitants of the plane are undead, but the Xeg-Yi is a living creature. A living creature that is composed of negative energy. Even one sourcebook where its official stats are detailed mentions how contradictory its existence sounds. (In fact, its counterpart, the Xag-Ya, which is native to the Positive Material Plane, doesn't make much sense either. A living being shouldn't be able to have much individuality in a place that is life incarnate.)
    • From 3rd edition onward, "Giant" is a creature type, which is independent from size. Although most giants are at least of Large size, it is perfectly possible to have medium-sized giants (notably, half-giants or forest trolls). Similarly, Fire Giants are described as looking like giant dwarves.
    • Third edition also mechanized Made of Evil/Good/Law/Chaos by making it a creature subtype. Just ascending/falling (rare but possible and given examples on both sides) doesn't remove the subtype despite your alignment now being opposite of whatever it is, and the subtype makes you count as that alignment for many effects, with the result that fallen celestials and ascended fiends metaphysically are and detect as both good and evil (fortunately for both, there are rituals to go full celestial/fiend and switch the subtype, and just sticking it out for long enough is implied by some devil backstories to be enough too).
  • In Exalted, the Yozi Oramus is the embodiment of paradox. Cytherea is the first of the Primordials to awaken, yet when she did, Oramus basically said, "What took you so long? I thought you'd never wake up."
  • Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay's 1st edition features one of the most oxymoronic of beings: Necoho, the Chaos God... of Atheism. Who gets less powerful the more followers he has, and actively works towards spreading skepticism and disbelief. Going by the fact his hypothetical avatar would always bear a smirk of ironic amusement, he probably finds this oxymoronic existence hilarious.

  • Action Masters are Transformers who are unable to transform after consuming Nucleon. Then there are Action Master Elites, who can still transform. Making them Transformers that can't transform which can transform. There's something not quite right about any of that.

    Video Games 
  • The Horseless Headless Horsemann (sic) in Team Fortress 2.
  • Touhou:
  • Dwarf Fortress features Forgotten Beasts, creatures created by primordial chaos. In-game, they're created by randomly mixing any animals, materials, limbs, and strange attacks. Sometimes this can result in paradoxial creatures, the most famous being the "Six-Legged quadrupednote ."
  • The backstory of World of Warcraft reveals that humans are oxymoronic beings since they are heavily implied to be corrupted Vrykul (Viking-like beings who are an offshoot of giants). In other words humans are miniature giants.
  • Borderlands 2 features goliaths, a kind of Giant Mook, and midget enemies, which is Exactly What It Says on the Tin. You will eventually encounter midget goliaths. And, depending on what you do, you could well get your ass handed to you by a Giant Midget of Death.
  • The Pokémon series have a few:
    • Ferroseed and Ferrothorn are Grass/Steel types. Plants are organic while metal armour generally isn't, especially among plants. Kartana is also this type, although being an Ultra Beast, it makes more sense for it to have a conflicting type.
    • Durant has a Bug/Steel typing. This presents the same problem as Ferrothorn, but you could probably hand wave it as exoskeleton. What you can't ignore however, is that it evolved its Steel shell to protect itself from its long-time rival Heatmor. Both Bug and Steel types are weak to fire.
    • Mawile, Klefki, Magearna and Zacian in its Crowned Form are Steel/Fairy types. Fairy types are weak to steel, but these three are made of it.
    • The Dark-type has long been thought to be the polar opposite of the Psychic-Type, being immune to Psychic attacks with Dark attacks being Super Effective against Psychic Pokémon. Behold Inkay (and it's evolved form, Malamar), the first dual-type Dark/Psychic Pokémon, introduced in X and Y. Of course, this little guy seems to be all about opposites, called the Revolving Pokémon, with an ability called Contrary (moves that lower its stats increase it instead, and vice versa), and attacks with names like Topsy-Turvy and Switcheroo. The craziest part? In order for it to evolve when it reaches the right level, you have to hold the Nintendo 3DS upside-down.
    • Regular Stunfisk is also this, being Electric/Ground. Electric-type moves have no effect against Ground-type Pokémon (and the nullification of latent electricity is called grounding).
    • There is a glitch Pokémon referred to in the community as "Invisible Shiny Bulbasaur". Similar to the Invisible Pink Unicorn above, how can you know that it's shiny if it's invisible? (the answer is that shiny Pokémon have sparkles surround them when they appear; the Pokémon is invisible, but the sparkles aren't!)
    • Gligar, Gliscor and both forms of Landorus are Ground/Flying. Ground-type moves have no effect against Flying-types.
    • The Fairy type was introduced in Generation VI to serve as The Dragonslayer type, being super-effective against and immune to a former Game-Breaker. Then Altaria received a Mega Evolution, which is Dragon/Fairy. Humorously, this also gives Mega Altaria a double type advantage against other Dragon-types, as Dragon-type moves are also super effective against Dragon.
    • Larvesta and Volcarona are Bug/Fire - moths that can survive being drawn to a flame.
    • Volcanion is Fire/Water type. Reasonably enough, it's basically the incarnation of steam.
    • Galarian Weezing is Poison/Fairy, thus representing both corruption (Poison) and purity (Fairy).
    • Galarian Darmanitan hidden ability gives it a Zen Mode that is Ice/Fire type, being a direct contrast of two temperature elements.
    • The Mix-and-Match Critter Fossil Pokémon from Galar have a couple very unfortunate cases of this. The Fossils of Galar are broken into top halves of birds and fish and bottom halves of dragons and aquatic dinosaurs; the Galarian 'expert' in fossil revival is Cara Liss, who will take any top and bottom you give her, throw them in her machine, and assume the result was a prehistoric Pokémon.
      • Dracovish has the head of an ancient fish and the body of a land-based dragon. Its legs give it +40mph running speeds on land, but its head is incapable of breathing unless it's underwater. So what we have is a high-speed sprinter that can't breathe.
      • Arctozolt has the upper body of a primitive bird or raptor-like creature and the lower body of an aquatic reptile that lives in cold climates. It's upper body is constantly suffering hypothermia due to the cold it's lower body produces and it is very sluggish because it waddles around on flippers that are more suited for swimming.
  • In Discworld II, a poster outside the cinema advertises Attack of the 50-Foot Dwarf.
  • Similar to Larvesta and Volcarona, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild has Smotherwing Butterflies - insects that only exist in the volcanic areas of Death Mountain.
  • One type of armor in Fallout: New Vegas is NCR salvaged power armor. The servo-motors that make it easier to move are gone, thus making it Powered Armor that isn't powered by anything. Attacks that normally do extra damage to power armor don't do so against salvaged power armor and it doesn't require Power Armor Training to use, but it doesn't boost your strength either.
  • After adjectives were introduced to Scribblenauts, you can summon them. Want to summon a Tiny Giant? A Pacifistic Terrorist? A Gentle Demon? A Vegetarian Cannibal? A Genius Dunce? An Aquaphobic Fish? A friendly Cthulhu? It's all possible.
  • In Baldur's Gate, Minsc has a pet hamster named Boo whom he claims is a Miniature Giant Space Hamster. The strange thing is, this isn't impossible. Giant Space Hamsters do exist in Dungeons & Dragons (albeit in Spelljammer which also has things like civilized Illithids), and some of them are miniaturized. It's still more likely that this is just another sign of Minsc's mental instability due to taking one too many blows to the head.note 
  • Ryoji and Teddie from Persona 3 and Persona 4. Shadows are described as the subconscious opposite of human conscious in the games and various official materials, yet Ryoji and Teddie somehow manage to be Shadows with a human heart.
    • In Persona 5, Morgana swears that he's human and fights to "regain his human form" and his memories to go with it - but he keeps having dreams that imply that he's a shadow of some kind, similar to the above. In the end, it turns out that he isn't a shadow, but he isn't human either - he is the embodiment of hope that was somehow given a human-like heart and has a nature that is similar to, but not the same as, a shadow.
  • In God of War (PS4), it's mentioned at one point that not all of the Giants are actually gigantic in size. Atreus aka Loki for example is the same size as any other little boy despite being half-Giant on his mother's side.
  • In Splatoon and its sequel, the Inklings and Octolings are evolved sea creatures that dissolve in water, being living ink blots and all. For an extra layer of oxymoron, their cultures are so stylish and fashion forward that areas like lake/seaside buildings and clothes designed for swimming are completely normal for them.
  • Organization XIII-the original incarnation-from Kingdom Hearts can be considered the Trope Codifier. By all rights of the rules of the series, they should not exist, and yet, through sheer force of will(with a good dose of Nothingness), are able to.
  • Undertale inside Temmie village there is one Temmie who is allergic... to Temmies. Immediately after saying this, they break out in "hOIVS!"
  • Fate/Grand Order features Jeanne D'Arc Alter Santa Lily, a "Lily" (younger and idealized) version of an "Alter" (darker Alternate Self) Servant. The goodness of the "Lily" part of her overrides the darkness that comes with being an Alter, resulting in her being a regular sweet kid.

    Visual Novels 

    Web Animation 
  • A very short sketch from asdfmovie stars two apparently normal men, one of whom then claims to be a "very tall midget".

    Webc Cmics 
  • Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal:
    • Handi-man is a quadraplegic superhero with the power to move like an able-bodied person.
    • One strip shows the Nothingverse, an alternate universe where it is impossible for anything to exist. This did not prevent sentient life forms from emerging there.
    • A Buddhist monk protestor. Don't think that's oxymoronic? Consider his sign:
      What do we want?
      An end to the feeling of desire!
      When do we want it?
      Time is a delusion.
  • The Order of the Stick. This exchange:
    Police Chief: So, the giant bear is...
    Julia: Evil.
    Police Chief: And the giant dwarfnote  is...
    Julia: An oxymoron.
  • One guy seen in League of Super Redundant Heroes has a wide range of extremely potent powers, which he only loses in proximity to space rocks. Earth is a giant space rock.
  • Rogues of Clwyd-Rhan features a Christian fairy. That is, a member of The Fair Folk — very much associated with paganism, including in-universe, and rather resentful for the encroachment of the new faith — who converted to the Christian religion.
  • Homestuck's GCATavrosprite is 50% cat, 50% allergic to cats.
  • Axe Cop:
    • The vampire man baby kid. What age is he again? (The illustration shows him as having body parts of different ages.) In addition to this, he's a sun vampire. Vampires are supposed to be afraid of the sun, not fly right into it.
    • Axe Cop himself in his capacity as the perfect man who's a perfect match for all women in the universe (and also doesn't like girls). When he's looking for a wife, he goes to get scanned in a love scanner to find out what women are the closest match for him. But since he's a perfect match for everyone, he just gets a random, indefinitely long list of women. So it's natural that he meets women he doesn't like, since they're just randomly chosen. So because he's a perfect match for all women, he ends up meeting women who aren't right for him...
    • Mr. Stocker, the Super Hero with no powers. Well, sure, there are plenty of superheroes that don't actually have powers, but he also doesn't wear a costume, and he's not a Badass Normal or any kind of badass. He's exaggeratedly ordinary in every respect and dies immediately. Twice.
    • The hero Sockarang gains the powers of Bad Santa and becomes... good bad Santa.
  • The Adventures of Dr. McNinja
    • Dr. McNinja's calling as both killer and healer is so contradictory his soul is literally split in two.
    • Benjamin Franklin's clone becomes a headless horseman, but he manages to avoid the horse and keep his head on for a fairly long time.
    • The Radical Lands are so cool that the sun in their sky wears sunglasses.
  • In Darths & Droids episode 21, Sally makes up the details about the queen of Naboo: She's an elected queen who's old and wise as well as fourteen years old. With the "old" part removed, of course, this matches the way the character was described in the original.

    Web Original 
  • According to Chuck Norris Facts, Chuck Norris holds every record in the Guinness Book of World Records, which means, among other things, he's a planet, a pizza, a spider, and a distance.
  • Japanese Twitter came up with the paradoxal concept of "Yuri BL" (that is to say, Yaoi that is Yuri), defined sporadically as either a relationship between two Uke archetypes or two male characters with a romantic arc matching ones commonly found in yuri. The yuri fans didn't like their term being co-opted (along with the Unfortunate Implications of bottom = "the woman"), so they made their own equally paradoxal concept: "BL Yuri", a lesbian relationship matching stock yaoi plots or one between two tachi.

    Web Videos 

    Western Animation 
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender:
    • The spider-fly, which commonly gets caught in its own web. Noted in the creator commentary as "the most paradoxical animal in the world of Avatar."
    • There is also the two-headed rat viper. This is used by the Air Benders as an analogy of consequences of anger: "Revenge is like a Two-Headed Rat Viper; while you watch your enemy go down, you are poisoned yourself."
    • When Sokka gives Toph a piece of the meteorite he used to make his sword he calls it "space earth", prompting Katara to question how there could be such a thing.
  • Futurama:
  • The Looney Tunes short The Hole Idea has protagonist Calvin Q. Calculus apparently figure out how to create a round square.
  • Robot Chicken had a spoof of Attack of the 50-Foot Whatever movies called Attack of the Giant Midget. Said giant midget was about 6'5"... which is pretty tall, for a midget.
  • Sabrina and The Groovie Goolies: In a song about how "noises are the strangest things in the world," one of the reasons give for their strangeness is that they're things that can scare you but you can't even see them. However, during the accompanying animation, Hagatha accidentally creates a being that is implied to be an embodied noise — making it also a visible noise.
  • Sheep in the Big City has military characters with Punny Names that are usually oxymorons: General Specific, Private Public, Major Minor (who is a baby) and Corporal Ethereal (a hippy).
  • South Park has the Mexican Staring Frog of Southern Sri Lanka.
  • One villain from Sushi Pack, Paradoxter, enjoys things that are perfect paradoxes, such as sweet-and-sour sauce. His henchmen are jumbo shrimp (as in, man-sized), and in one episode he created animixes by splicing together two different animals, such as a sheep and wolf. One of his henchshrimp points out that he should call himself Oxymoron, since he's a Man-Ox, but Paradoxter does not appreciate this input.
  • In an episode of The Life and Times of Juniper Lee, June meets a giant ("You know, a giant," he said, "as in fee, fi, foe, fum?") who is only three feet tall. June gets a laugh out of it at first, but it really isn't funny to the poor guy; his condition has caused him to be the subject of ridicule all his life by the other giants. (June tries to make a growing potion for him, but suffice to say, things go a little haywire.)
  • Justice League Unlimited gives us the episode "Dark Heart", which features The Atom versus a giant nanomachine.
    Atom: He's bigger than my car now, Katie. Personally, I blame you.
  • In one episode The Simpsons, Bart and Lisa are watching a new McBain movie where the action heroes' latest foes are "Commie Nazis". This would suggest a combination of Communism and Fascism, which are actually on completely opposite sides of the political spectrum. (Of course, the McBain movies tend to push the boundaries of belief even more than usual for the show as a whole.)
  • The titular character of Uncle Grandpa; he's both the uncle and grandpa of everyone on Earth.
  • Drawn Together had amongst Captain Hero's Rogues Gallery The Gigantic Midget. He looked just like a normal guy wearing small clothes.
    Gigantic Midget: You've never faced a midget as big as me!
  • The Venture Bros. features Dr. Entmann, who suffered from Gigantism and fought alongside the original Team Venture as "Humongoloid". But because Reality Ensues, he had severe health problems due to his condition, and Dr. Venture tried to shrink him down to normal proportions. It was too successful, and he wound up insect-sized. He is now a minuscule giant.
  • Justice League Action combines this with Hoist by His Own Petard; Calythos absorbs Martian Manhunter's abilities, including the latter's weakness to fire. Problem is, Calythos is made of fire, so the fight ends pretty quickly from there.
  • Ben 10: In one of his many attempts to understand it, Ben pulls off the Omnitix's faceplate, causing it to glitch out and combine his alien forms whenever he transforms. The final hybrid transformation is one between Heatblast (living magma) and Ripjaws (a fish), which Ben refers to as a "flaming fish fry". Needless to say, the Heatblast part dries out the Ripjaws part, and going underwater to let the Ripjaws part breathe extinguishes the Heatblast part. Even so, Ben somehow managed to balance the hybrid form and save the day anyway.
  • In Steven Universe, every type of Gem has a power unique to that type. When Gems are born with defects of some sort (Off-Colors), this trope is usually the result; for instance, Sapphires have the power of predicting events, but Padparadscha's defect causes her to only be able to predict things that already happened.

    Real Life 
  • Referenced by They Might Be Giants — when an interviewer called them "the biggest indie act in the world", they said it was like being "the world's tallest midget".
  • A quantum computer could be considered oxymoronic: quantum phenomena can only occur when a subatomic particle is not observed, however not only is a computer not a subatomic particle, its programs must be observed, as the whole purpose of a computer is to compute things. This is one reason why quantum computers have proven so difficult to design.
  • The No-Eyed Big-Eyed Spider. note 
  • Similar to the No-Eyed Big-Eyed Spider, a contradictory name can happen when you have to describe an animal whose common name has a color in it but which is actually a different color because of a mutation. For example, if you saw the description "red green iguana" you might stop and wonder what color it really is, or if perhaps it's both. It's predominantly red, but it's still a Green Iguana, i.e. Iguana iguana. This problem is perhaps most well known with the "gray" wolf, which can be pure black or pure white without any traces of gray. Also a problem with the "red" fox, which can be other colors such as black and silver.
  • One of the largest cephalopods (besides the giant squid and the even bulkier colossal squid) is called the seven-arm octopus, which is an oxymoron because "octopus" means "eight feet" in Greek. Even weirder, this creature actually has eight tentacles like every other octopus species. It's called the seven-arm octopus because the male keeps one of its tentacles (used in reproduction) tucked away when it's not mating.
  • In the world of music, an "indie label" is this. Going by the original definition of the term, an artist isn't actually indie unless they don't have a record label (meaning that they produce and distribute all of their music by themselves). The definition of "indie" started to get a bit fuzzy after several pop artists in the indie scene developed a distinct, recognizable sound, and said sound became popular enough that several record labels started working to capitalize on it.
  • The word "sophomoric", derived from sophomore, may be considered an oxymoron in Greek; it derives from the Greek words "sophos", wise, and "moros", stupid, (from which we get the word moron). A sophomoric person may be defined as conceited and overconfindent of knowledge, but poorly informed and immature.note 
  • An Everything Is Big in Texas joke goes "A Texan is someone who can't decide whether his state has the biggest or the smallest midgets in the world".
  • One popular animation website is named Albino Blacksheep.
  • Similarly, people descended from sub-Saharan Africa (especially countries like Tanzania and Malawi in East Africa's Great Lakes region) have the highest rates of albinism among humans outside of a few Native American communities and South Pacific islands. This makes the odd phrase "Black albino" surprisingly accurate in a lot of cases, with "Black" describing broader ethnic origins and "albino" describing actual coloration.
  • On January 28, 2020, a highway in Colorado was blocked for a few hours by a "large boulder the size of a small boulder". This was later clarified to be a typo: the boulder was the size of a small car.


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