Date: Wed, 18 Sep 1996 09:37:13 EDT


Subject: Re: A new oxymoron?

I'm not going to touch the troll part of Bubba's note (the etymology) with a

10-foot pole, beyond commenting that a growing number of ads-ers seem to be

susceptible to such trolls anymore. Maybe we'll have to revert to smileys to

signal our bad faith, which would take the fun out of it. But as for the first

part, I beg to differ. Any question that builds in a presupposition can be

said to be uninformed: Have you stopped beating your pet iguana? Why did you

support English-only legislation, Senator? When did scientists discover that

water is an element? and so on. All is takes is that the presupposition be


Incidentally, you may be interested to know that I can produce the true der-

ivation of 'oxymoron'. My NCD 7, fresh off the shelf, defines the prefix

OXY- as 'of oxygen and', and when I checked MORON in the OED, all I could find

(besides an obsolete form of 'morn', which didn't seem to apply) was 'a variety

of salamander', from the OF mo(u)ron, with the citation 'With respect to the

salamander, the whole tribe, from the Moron to the Gekko, are said to be

venomous to the last degree' [Goldsmith 1774, Nat. Hist.]. An OXYMORON, thus,

would have originally been something consisting of oxygen and a venomous

salamander. Presumably nothing of that sort exists, hence the current meaning.

(Good thing I turned up an 11-foot pole.)


----------------------------Original message----------------------------

Albert E. Krahn wrote:

Is "uninformed question" an oxymoron?

I suppose so. Touche'.

By the way,did y'all know that "oxymoron" came from the words "Oxford" and

"moron", because it

was a contradiction in terms to call someone who graduated from such a

prestigious school a

dumby. (The "y" in the middle is the Spanish word for "and".) I know it's

true, because that's

what the guys who hung around Buddy's Pool hall when I was growing up used to


Danny "Bubba" Long