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[par-uh-doks] /ˈpær əˌdɒks/
a statement or proposition that seems self-contradictory or absurd but in reality expresses a possible truth.
a self-contradictory and false proposition.
any person, thing, or situation exhibiting an apparently contradictory nature.
an opinion or statement contrary to commonly accepted opinion.
1530-40; < Latin paradoxum < Greek parádoxon, noun use of neuter of parádoxos unbelievable, literally, beyond belief. See para-1, orthodox
Related forms
paradoxical, paradoxal, adjective
paradoxology, noun
3. puzzle, anomaly, riddle. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for paradox
  • Halpern is attuned to the paradox of treating memory, a basic aspect of the self, as a biological puzzle.
  • Beirut is a city that is alternately triumphant and tragic, where paradox has been raised to an art form.
  • The book is an admirable attempt to pierce the paradox of a people steeped in sense of place, yet ever on the move.
  • This, in the view of the physicist, is a perfect example of the time paradox at work.
  • The most troublesome paradox - and the most difficult to change - is that of education itself.
  • This paradox cannot be attributed to any one simple cause.
  • The paradox, of course, is that only those whose word is not good get caught by a background check.
  • The paradox of overconfidence is that it may be necessary for an entrepreneur.
  • What is new is his claim that this model could serve to solve the paradox of free will and determinism.
  • So we might reformulate the paradox as follows: Change cannot be engineered and change will always occur.
British Dictionary definitions for paradox


a seemingly absurd or self-contradictory statement that is or may be true: religious truths are often expressed in paradox
a self-contradictory proposition, such as I always tell lies
a person or thing exhibiting apparently contradictory characteristics
an opinion that conflicts with common belief
Derived Forms
paradoxical, adjective
paradoxically, adverb
Word Origin
C16: from Late Latin paradoxum, from Greek paradoxos opposed to existing notions, from para-1 + doxa opinion
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for paradox

1530s, "statement contrary to common belief or expectation," from Middle French paradoxe (14c.) and directly from Latin paradoxum "paradox, statement seemingly absurd yet really true," from Greek paradoxon, noun use of neuter of adjective paradoxos "contrary to expectation, incredible," from para- "contrary to" (see para- (1)) + doxa "opinion," from dokein "to appear, seem, think" (see decent). Meaning "statement that is seemingly self-contradictory yet not illogical or obviously untrue" is from 1560s.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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paradox in Medicine

paradox par·a·dox (pār'ə-dŏks')
That which is apparently, though not actually, inconsistent with or opposed to the known facts in any case.

par'a·dox'i·cal adj.
par'a·dox'i·cal·ly adv.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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paradox in Culture

paradox definition

A statement that seems contradictory or absurd but is actually valid or true. According to one proverbial paradox, we must sometimes be cruel in order to be kind. Another form of paradox is a statement that truly is contradictory and yet follows logically from other statements that do not seem open to objection. If someone says, “I am lying,” for example, and we assume that his statement is true, it must be false. The paradox is that the statement “I am lying” is false if it is true.

The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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paradox in Technology
A relational database for Microsoft Windows, originally from Borland.
Paradox 5 ran on Microsoft Windows [version?] and provided a graphical environment, a debugger, a data modelling tool, and many "ObjectPAL" commands.
Paradox 7 ran under Windows 95 and Windows NT.
Latest version: Paradox 9, as of 2000-02-10 (a Corel product).
An apparently sound argument leading to a contradiction.
Some famous examples are Russell's paradox and the liar paradox. Most paradoxes stem from some kind of self-reference.
Smarandache Linguistic Paradox (
The Free On-line Dictionary of Computing, © Denis Howe 2010
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