Paradox | Definition of Paradox

Definition of Paradox

1: a tenet contrary to received opinion
2 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
3: one (such as a person, situation, or action) having seemingly contradictory qualities or phases

Synonyms for Paradox

  • contradiction,
  • dichotomy,
  • incongruity

Did You Know?

The ancient Greeks were well aware that a paradox can take us outside our usual way of thinking. They combined the prefix para- (“beyond” or “outside of”) with the verb dokein (“to think”), forming paradoxos, an adjective meaning “contrary to expectation.” Latin speakers picked up the word and used it to create their noun paradoxum, which English speakers borrowed during the 1500s to create paradox.

Examples of Paradox in a Sentence

For the actors, the goal was a paradox: real emotion, produced on cue.
— Claudia Roth PierpontNew Yorker27 Oct. 2008
Again and again, he returns in his writing to the paradox of a woman who is superior to the men around her by virtue of social class though considered inferior to them on account of her gender.
— Terry EagletonHarper’sNovember 2007
Recent Examples on the Web

The paradox of the current 10-year economic expansion is that so many people haven’t seen much financial progress despite a generally favorable backdrop.
— Russ Wiles, azcentral, “Did you make financial progress this year? Evaluate yourself with this checklist,” 8 Dec. 2019
Their dilemma pointed to a paradox of the recent television renaissance.— Noam Scheiber, New York Times, “Is Peak TV Really a Bonanza for Female Comics? That’s a Laugh,” 25 July 2019

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