“You have to spend money to make money.” That’s a paradoxical statement used by people in business, and it seems to say two opposite things that contradict each other, but if you think about it, it’s actually kind of true.

Paradoxical is an adjective that describes a paradox, something with two meanings that don’t make sense together. Its Greek roots translate to “contrary opinion,” and when two different opinions collide in one statement or action, that’s paradoxical. In Shakespeare’s play "Hamlet," Hamlet’s mother marries the man who killed Hamlet’s father, but she doesn’t know it. As Hamlet plots to kill the murderer to protect his mother, he says this paradoxical phrase: “I must be cruel to be kind.”

Definitions of paradoxical
  1. adjective
    seemingly contradictory but nonetheless possibly true
    “it is paradoxical that standing is more tiring than walking”
    synonyms: self-contradictory
    incomprehensible, inexplicable
    incapable of being explained or accounted for
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