6 Comments

  1. My favorite does-not-compute “contradiction in terms” is not “tight slacks” or “hot chili” or any of those standbys, but rather “new and improved.”

  2. @ Shrug – Thinking about the word “oxymoron” made me wonder what the prefix “oxy” is supposed to mean, which of course led to a medium-sized rabbit hole. The word itself turns out to be a contradiction: “oxy” traces back to a Greek root that meant “sharp” (smart), whereas the root for “moron” meant “dull” (stupid).

  3. For the non-chemists around here, Mitch4 is playing on the German word for oxygen (“Sauerstoff“), which came about because oxygen is an inherent component of many organic acids (with a -COOH tail). By the time those German chemists figured out that lots of inorganic acids (such as HCl) have no oxygen at all, the name had already stuck.

  4. “Oxygen” is a more-or-less Greek translation of “stuff that makes things sour,” like “hydrogen” is a more-or-less Greek translation of “stuff that makes water happen.” You burn hydrogen, you get water.

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