Yesterday, I attended a systems engineering research review where I encountered a beautiful oxymoron: flexible requirements. If something is required, there should be no flexibility in changing it, yet this is the intent in the systems engineering context. Frequently, system requirements are part of the contractual obligation between a buyer and a developer.
Posts Tagged ‘oxymora’
The word oxymoron is itself an oxymoron. It is derived from the Greek words oxy (meaning sharp) and moros (meaning dull). English is full of seemingly contradictory words that, used together, can make sense in certain contexts. For example, our business is undergoing constant change. Constant change? Constant means not changing. Change means not constant.
Oxymorons are generally useful. Although they appear to be somewhat contradictory, they tend to have meaningful connotations that express a unique aspect of some subject. My book Eureka! contains a list of my favorite oxymorons, but there are many more. If you have a favorite, please contribute it on my website or post a comment here.