Tech. writing list

Subject: Tech. writing list
From: Geoff Hart <geoff-h -at- MTL -dot- FERIC -dot- CA>
Date: Thu, 27 Apr 1995 11:07:15 LCL

Roy Johnson asked why "posthaste" is a one-word oxymoron, and I can
see why he would miss the joke: his signoff indicates he's from
Britain, where they still consider paper mail to be an effective
solution. (This may be an urban legend, but I seem to recall reading
that our overseas cousins still enjoy one-day delivery within big
cities, and even multiple deliveries per day in some areas.)

The problem, Roy, is that you won't find many North Americans who
would consider using the words "post" (mail) and "haste" (speedy
delivery) to be possible in the same context. Hope that's clearer! The
other examples that I've received (prelate, silence, noise,
inflammable, naturalisation, and nothing/everything) are puns on the
concept of an oxymoron: they don't strictly speaking contradict
themselves, but they do contain paradoxes, plays on words, and ironies
that qualify them as oxymorons in a less restrictive use of the word.
But I'm still looking for the definitive word!

--Geoff Hart #8^{)}
geoff-h -at- mtl -dot- feric -dot- ca

Disclaimer: These comments are my own and don't represent the opinions
of the Forest Engineering Research Institute of Canada.

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