from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun A statement that seems to contradict itself but may nonetheless be true.
  • noun A person, thing, or situation that exhibits inexplicable or contradictory aspects.
  • noun A statement that is self-contradictory or logically untenable, though based on a valid deduction from acceptable premises.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun A statement or proposition which at first view seems absurd, or at variance with common sense, or which actually or apparently contradicts some ascertained truth or received opinion, though on investigation or when explained it may appear to be well founded. As a rhetorical figure its use is well exemplified in the first quotation.
  • noun The platypus or water-mole, Ornithorhynchus paradoxus.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun A tenet or proposition contrary to received opinion; an assertion or sentiment seemingly contradictory, or opposed to common sense; that which in appearance or terms is absurd, but yet may be true in fact.
  • noun See under Hydrostatic.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun A self-contradictory statement, which can only be true if it is false, and vice versa. transl. usage
  • noun A counterintuitive conclusion or outcome. usage syn.
  • noun A claim that two apparently contradictory ideas are true. transl.
  • noun A person or thing having contradictory properties. syn. transl.
  • noun An unanswerable question or difficult puzzle, particularly one which leads to a deeper truth. usage syn.
  • noun obsolete A statement which is difficult to believe, or which goes against general belief.
  • noun uncountable The use of counterintuitive or contradictory statements (paradoxes) in speech or writing.
  • noun uncountable, philosophy A state in which one is logically compelled to contradict oneself.
  • noun uncountable, psychotherapy The practice of giving instructions that are opposed to the therapist's actual intent, with the intention that the client will disobey or be unable to obey. syn.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • noun (logic) a statement that contradicts itself


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Latin paradoxum, from Greek paradoxon, from neuter sing. of paradoxos, conflicting with expectation : para-, beyond; see para– + doxa, opinion (from dokein, to think; see dek- in Indo-European roots).]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Middle French paradoxe paradoxum, from Ancient Greek παράδοξος (paradoxos, "unexpected, strange").


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