paradox
Pronunciation
  • (British) IPA: /ˈpaɹədɒks/
  • (America) IPA: /ˈpæɹədɑks/, /ˈpɛɹədɑks/
Noun

paradox (plural paradoxes)

  1. An apparently self-contradictory statement, which can only be true if it is false, and vice versa.
    "This sentence is false" is a paradox.
  2. A counterintuitive conclusion or outcome.
    It is an interesting paradox that drinking a lot of water can often make you feel thirsty.
    • 1983 May 21, Ronald Reagan, "Presidential Radio Address",
      The most fundamental paradox is that if we're never to use force, we must be prepared to use it and to use it successfully.
  3. A claim that two apparently contradictory ideas are true.
    Not having a fashion is a fashion; that's a paradox.
  4. A thing involving contradictory yet interrelated elements that exist simultaneously and persist over time.
  5. A person or thing having contradictory properties.
    He is a paradox; you would not expect him in that political party.
  6. An unanswerable question or difficult puzzle, particularly one which leads to a deeper truth.
  7. (obsolete) A statement which is difficult to believe, or which goes against general belief.
    • 1615, Ralph Hamor, A True Discourse of the Present State of Virginia, Richmond 1957, p. 3
      they contended to make that Maxim, that there is no faith to be held with Infidels, a meere and absurd Paradox [...].
  8. (uncountable) The use of counterintuitive or contradictory statements (paradoxes) in speech or writing.
  9. (uncountable, philosophy) A state in which one is logically compelled to contradict oneself.
  10. (uncountable, psychotherapy) The practice of giving instructions that are opposed to the therapist's actual intent, with the intention that the client will disobey or be unable to obey.
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