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paradox

Here's a mind-bender: "This statement is false." If you think it's true, then it must be false, but if you think it's false, it must be true. Now that's a paradox!

A paradox is a logical puzzler that contradicts itself in a baffling way. "This statement is false" is a classic example, known to logicians as "the liar's paradox." Paradoxical statements may seem completely self-contradictory, but they can be used to reveal deeper truths. When Oscar Wilde said, "I can resist anything except temptation," he used a paradox to highlight how easily we give in to tempting things while imagining that we can hold firm and resist them.

Definitions of paradox
  1. noun
    (logic) a statement that contradicts itself
    “`I always lie' is a paradox because if it is true it must be false”
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    type of:
    contradiction, contradiction in terms
    (logic) a statement that is necessarily false
  2. noun
    someone or something that seems to have contradictory qualities
Commonly confused words

paradox / oxymoron

A paradox is a logical puzzle that seems to contradict itself. No it isn't. Actually, it is. An oxymoron is a figure of speech — words that seem to cancel each other out, like "working vacation" or "instant classic."

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