Figure Name paradox
Source Silva Rhetoricae (; Peacham; De Mille (1882) ("paradoxum")
Earliest Source None
Synonyms paradoxon, paradoxum, wondrer
Etymology Gk. para, "past, contrary to" and doxa, "opinion"
Type Trope
Linguistic Domain Semantic

1. a) A statement that is self-contradictory on the surface, yet seems to evoke a truth nonetheless. (Silva Rhetoricae)

1. b) =inopinatum. The expression of one's inability to believe or conceive of something; a type of faux wondering). As such, this kind of paradox is much like aporia and functions much like a rhetorical question or erotema. (Silva Rhetoricae)

2. Paradoxon, is a forme of speech by which the Orator affirmeth some thing to be true, by saying he would not have beleeved it, or that it is so straunge, so great, or so wonderfull, that it may appeare to be incredible. (Peacham)

Great emphasis is sometimes given to any topic by introducing it as something unexpected or surprising. (De Mille)


1. Whosoever loses his life, shall find it. (Silva Rhetoricae)

1. It seems impossible to me that this administration could so quickly reverse itself on this issue. (Silva Rhetoricae)

2. Paul being accused to King Agrippa, as a teacher of erronious doctrine, made his answer in this forme: “For the which hopes sake, O king Agrippa, I am accused of the Jewes, why should it be thought a thing incredible unto you: that God should raise againe the dead. I also thought in my selfe that I ought to do many contray things against the name of Jesus of Nazareth, which thing I did also in Jerusalem, for many of the Saints I shut up in prison, having received authoritie of the high Priest, and when they were put to death I gave the sentence.” Act. Here Paul sheweth, that not long before he was of the same opinion that his adversaries and the judge were now of, and was in the like maner an open enemy to the professor of that name. (Peacham)

3. This is illustrated in the speech of Marc Antony:
"Look you here,
Here is himself, marred, as you see, with traitors!" (De Mille)

3. Burke's description of Marie Antoinette affords another example:
"Little did I think that such disasters could have fallen upon her in a nation of gallant men!" (De Mille)

Kind Of Opposition
Part Of
Related Figures oxymoron, rhetorical questions, erotema, aporia, irony, figures of permission
Confidence Unconfident
Last Editor Samantha Price
Confidence Unconfident
Editorial Notes
Reviewed No