Figure of Speech Dictionary
A figure of speech or a trope (the latter word has a more specific use) is a non-ordinary use of language employed to create an emphasis, amplify a meaning, draw a comparison or contrast, or to make a rhetorical point. The figure may be achieved by employing repetition of words or sounds in a specific pattern, making an interjection, stating or implying a comparison, using synonyms, or using a specific pattern of argument. This searchable dictionary collects some of the common forms (about half of all figures). Use the Contact Page to advise of corrections, additional examples or forms we have missed.
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Results for Repetition:
Anadiplosis or Like Endings & Beginnings
A "doubling back" or repetition of the same word or words from the end of one sentence or clause at the beginning of another.
e.g. Men in great place are thrice servants: servants of the sovereign or state; servants of fame; and servants of business. -- Francis Bacon
Anaphora or Like-Beginnings
The repetition of the same word or phrase at the beginning of successive clauses or sentences.
e.g. We shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills. (Winston Churchill)
A repetition of the same word in the same sentence or in very close proximity but with two different meanings.
e.g. They cast lots to see which of the two lots they would be buying.
Notes: This may be done for humorous effect. Unless handled with great care, or used for a specific effect, repetition of the same word or derivatives thereof in close proximity catches the eye as amateurish or clumsy writing.
The repetition of vowel sounds within a short passage.
e.g. Moses supposes his toeses are roses.
Notes: Generally used in poetry, not prose."
From the Greek letter chi, shaped like the Latin X, and meaning a crossing. Two entities are related to one another in a "crossing" structure.
e.g. 1. I love you as you love me. 2. "Ask not what your country can do for you -- ask what you can do for your country." (John F. Kennedy)
Climax or Gradation
Continuous anadiplosis - repetition of endings and beginnings of a particular sentence or clause.
Secondary Category: logic
e.g. II Peter 1:5
Notes: Each of the repeated concepts is important in the sequence of argument.
Double (Multiple) Negation
Use of two or more negatives in close proximity. Formally, this would imply a positive, but the usual effect is to emphasize the negative.
e.g. He don't got no dough.
Notes: Can be the combination of a negative verb with a negative conjunction.
Epanadiplosis or Encircling
Repetition of the same word or words at the beginning and end of a sentence or sentence group.
e.g. Rejoice in the Lord always, and again I say, Rejoice. Philippians 4:4
Notes: Consider the encircled sentences as a unit of thought.
Epanados or Inversion
Repetition of different words in a sentence in an inverse order but with a similar meaning.
e.g. Make the heart of this people fat, and make their ears heavy, and shut their eyes; lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and convert, and be healed. (Isaiah 6:10)
Epanalepsis or Resumption
Repetition of a word, phrase, or idea following any kind of parenthesis in order to return to the original thought..
e.g. See 1Cor.10:29; Phil.1:24 for instances of this.
Notes: Marks return to a previous subject, possibly following a paranthetical remark."
Repetition of the same phrase at irregular intervals.
e.g. c.f. Psalm 29: 3-9
Notes: Differs from anaphora and repetition by being a phrase not just one word.
Epistrophe or Like Endings
Repetition of the same word or words at the end of successive clauses or sentences.
e.g. I yearn more to learn more that I may earn more.
Notes: Often creates a structural pattern for an argument, discussion, or description. If ending sounds rather than whole words or more are repeated, we call the epistrophe a rhyme."
Epizeuxis or Duplication
Repetition of the same word in immediate succession.
e.g. Isaiah 26:3
Notes: The effect is to emphasize or establish the word duplicated.
Homeopropheron or Alliteration
Repetition of the same letter or syllable at the commencement of two or more successive words.
e.g. Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers
Notes: Tongue twisters are among the more common alliterations.
Paradiastole or Neither-Nor
Repetition of the disjunctive pair "neither" and "nor".
Secondary Category: disjunctives
e.g. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God. (Romans 8:38-39)
Polyptoton or Many Inflections
Repetition of the same noun in different inflections or the same verb in different conjugations.
e.g. ...had, having, and in quest to have, extreme... -- Shakespeare, Sonnet 129
Notes: This may be a verb with a related noun/adjective. Common in Semitic languages.
Repetition of words similar in ending sound but not necessarily in sense or origin.
e.g. Little baby fast asleep, wishing you don't make a peep. Big brown eyes smile so sweet. Little baby fast asleep. (Roshina Sheppard)
The use of several synonyms in succession to add emotional force or clarity.
e.g. She was lovely, beautiful, gorgeous, a paragon of femininity.
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