To juxtapose two or more things is to put them right next to each other, side by side.
You can juxtapose things literally ("the artist juxtaposes vivid and muted colors") or figuratively ("the author uses flashbacks to juxtapose past and present.")
Either "JUX tuh poze" or "jux tuh POZE."
(I prefer the first way.)
Part of speech:
(Like “eat,” “try,” and “want,” all transitive verbs do something to an object.
You eat a banana, try a game, and want a new phone.
Likewise, you juxtapose things.)
juxtaposed, juxtaposing; juxtaposition(s)
How to use it:
You can be literal and talk about images, scenes, information, and printed words that are physically juxtaposed, or placed side by side, which is often something that people do to make a point about those things or to compare or contrast them. We also use "juxtapose" literally in discussions about art, photography, architecture, drama, and dance--anything that lets us physically combine different visual elements in interesting ways. "The director juxtaposed heavy, dark scenery and bright, ethereal costumes."
More often, though, juxtaposing things is done figuratively: you juxtapose thoughts, ideas, memories, events, trends, sounds, styles, and so on. Again, this is usually done to make a point about how the things you're comparing are strikingly similar or strikingly different.
Whether you're being literal or figurative, you often talk about "the juxtaposition of A and B" or "the juxtaposition of A with B." The idea is that A and B are surprisingly different things and therefore interesting to look at together or think about together.
Although juxtaposing things does mean placing them side by side, it can also just mean placing them close together, so you might also use phrases like "to juxtapose A against B" or "to juxtapose A beneath B" and so on.
It's worth mentioning that often it's a person or a person's work that's doing the juxtaposing, probably on purpose but perhaps accidentally: "the exhibit juxtaposes everyday artifacts with priceless works of art," "juxtaposed, the site's boasts of success and pleas for donations were irritating." And then at other times, juxtapositions happen naturally and are just something that you notice: "the soft sound of crickets juxtaposed against distant city traffic."
I guess it will always be popular to make little photo memes juxtaposing the candidate you don't like with Hitler. Bonus points if you also juxtapose similar comments the two have made.
Though it's mostly a comedy, Futurama is one of those shows that does an incredible job juxtaposing humor and tragedy.
Look away from the screen to explain the definition in your own words. You’ll know you understand what "juxtapose" means when you can explain it without saying "compare" or "place together."
Think of a time you had to do two very different things at once, and fill in the blanks: "My roles as both _____ and _____ were (awkwardly/uncomfortably/oddly/somehow/smoothly) juxtaposed."
Example: "When I worked with a homeschooled student for five days a week, my roles as both her teacher (full of high expectations and requirements for her) and as her family's employee were oddly juxtaposed."
Spend at least 20 seconds occupying your mind with the game and quote below. Then try the review questions. Don’t go straight to the review now—let your working memory empty out first.
Playing With Words:
This month, challenge your powers of memory and recall (or just get ready to reign supreme on Wheel of Fortune) as we play with two-word phrases that you’ll find in a dictionary. We’ll start off with easy tasks and advance to harder ones as the month goes on. See the right answer to each question the following day. You might even see a new phrase that inspires your curiosity and makes you look it up. Have fun! (Note: Every dictionary recognizes a different set of two-word phrases. I used the OED to make these game questions.)
What one word fits into every phrase below? It has three letters:
Try this one today:
What six-letter word fits into each phrase below?
A Point Well Made:
Marie Kondo: “The true purpose of a present is to be received. Presents are not ‘things’ but are means for conveying someone’s feelings.”
1. The opposite of JUXTAPOSE is
2. The book smoothly juxtaposes _____.
A. a plot that zips along quickly
B. her life as a smart but headstrong teenager
C. her coming of age against the background of political strife
Answers are below.
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Make Your Point is crafted with love and brought to you each day for free by Mrs. Liesl Johnson, M.Ed., a word lover, learning enthusiast, and private tutor of reading and writing in the verdant little town of Hilo, Hawaii. For writing tips, online learning, essay guidance, and more, please visit www.HiloTutor.com.
Disclaimer: Word meanings presented here are expressed in plain language and are limited to common, useful applications only. Readers interested in authoritative and multiple definitions of words are encouraged to check a dictionary. Likewise, word meanings, usage, and pronunciations are limited to American English; these elements may vary across world Englishes.