Repetition of Words and Phrases

ANADIPLOSIS: the final word(s) of one phrase or clause are the initial word(s) of the next.

KJV: "And when the people complained, it displeased the Lord: and the Lord heard it" (Num 11:1).

ED: For nothing higher than Itself
Itself can rest upon -- (751.3.3-4)

ANAPHORA: repetition of initial words.

KJV: "Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up" (1 Cor 13:4; see also Matt 5:3-11).
ED: Once more, my now bewildered Dove
Bestirs her puzzled wings
Once more her mistress, on the deep
Her troubled question flings --
(48.1.1-4; see also Poems 293, 793).

ANTIMETABOLE: words repeated in inverse order.

KJV: "the children ought not to lay up for the parents, but the parents for the children" (2 Cor 12:14).
ED: "That Love is all there is,
Is all we know of Love" (1765.1.1-2)

CLIMAX: a series of phrases or clause linked by repetition of final and initial words (see ANADIPLOSIS).

KJV: "add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity" (2 Pet 1:5-7).

EPANADIPLOSIS: repetition of the same initial and final word(s) in a phrase or clause.

KJV: "Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep" (Rom 12:15; see also Matt 5:48).
ED: Brain of his Brain --
Blood of his Blood -- (246.1.3-4)

Soul, Wilt thou toss again?
By just such a hazard . . .
. . . Imps in eager Caucus
Raffle for my Soul!
(139; see also Poems 454, 1039)

EPANALEPSIS: general repetition of words, not specifically at the beginning or end of language units.

KJV: "A wicked and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall be no sign given unto it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas" (Matt 16:4; see also Matt 5:10-12, 5:14-16, 5:21).
ED: The Definition of Melody--is
That Definition is none-- (797.4.3-4)

When Winds go round and round in Bands -- (321.2.13; see also 296)

EPISTROPHE: repetition of final words.

KJV: "And one kid of the goats for a sin offering; beside the continual burnt offering, his meat offering, and his drink offering" (Num 29:16; see also Matt 5:8-9, 5:47).
ED: Arrows enamored of his Heart--
Forgot to rankle there
And Venoms he mistook for Balms
disdained to rankle there-- (1629)

EPIZEUXIS: immediate repetition of adjacent words.

KJV: "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?" (Matt 27:46; see also Matt 5:37).
ED: "Amber -- Amber -- Dew -- Dew --" (703.2.2)

'Tis so much joy! 'Tis so much joy! (172.1.1; see also 734)

POLYPTOTON: repetition of words with the same root.

KJV: "But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed" (James 1:6; see also Matt 5:7, 5:13, 5:17-18).
ED: To make some trifle fairer
That was too fair before --
(1762.3.1-2; see also 568, 833)

SYMPLOCE: repetition of the same initial and final words in successive phrases or clauses.

KJV: "When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child" (1 Cor 13:11; see also Matt 5:19).
ED: AIf I can stop one Heart from breaking
BI shall not live in vain
AIf I can ease one Life the Aching
   Or cool one Pain

   Or help one fainting Robin
   Unto his Nest again
I shall not live in Vain. (919; see also 183, 301)

Sound Repetition and Variation

ANTIMETABOLIC SEQUENCE: repetition of sounds in inverse order.

SH: "if like a crab you could go backward" (HAM 2.2.203-04).
ED: Fast in a safer hand (5.3.1)

ALLITERATION: repetition of initial sounds.

KJV: "as long as he liveth he shall be lent to the Lord" (1 Sam 1:28).
ED: "the silver strife" (Dickinson 157.1.3).
wonder why . . . wonder at his woe (193.1.2, 2.2; see also 817)

ASSONANCE: repetition of vowel sounds.

KJV: "Arise, shine, for thy light is come" (Isa 60:1).
ED: "Knowing that bird of mine
Though flown -- "(5.2.2-3)

CONSONANCE: repetition of consonant sounds.

KJV: "O Lord my God, in thee do I put my trust" (Psa 7:1).
ED: "what 'Peter' promised" (193.2.1)

FULL RIME: exact repetition of final vowel + consonant sounds in words at the end of successive phrases or clauses.

KJV: "All we like sheep have gone astray;
we have turned every one to his own way" (Isa 53:6).
ED: Musicians wrestle everywhere--
All day--among the crowded air
I hear the silver strife--
And--waking--long before the morn--
Such transit breaks upon the town
I think it that "New Life"! (157.1)

HOMOETELEUTON: repetition of final consonant sounds; sometimes called NEAR RIME.

KJV: "Ask, and it shall be given unto you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you" (Matt 7:7).
ED: Robin is gone. (5.1.6)
"Water, is taught by thirst,
Land--by the Oceans passed." (135; see also 1126)

IDENTICAL RIME: rhyming of the same word or part of a word.

ED: me and me in 956; come and become in 880 (see also 276).

INTERNAL RIME: repetition of final sounds in words within a phrase or clause.

KJV: "they heart is not right in the sight of God" (Acts 8:21).
ED: I, why, I, why, sky (193.1.1-4; see also 293, 1587)

PAROMOEON: repetition of initial and final sounds.

KJV: "let not those that seek thee be confounded for my sake, O God of Israel" (Psa 69:6; see also Matt 5:3, 5:8, 5:16).
ED: . . . Robin is gone.

Yet I do not repine
Knowing that Bird of mine
Though flown --
Learneth beyond the sea
Melody new for me
And will return.
(5.1.6, 2.1.1 - 2.1.6)

SONANCE: rich combination of various sound figures.

KJV: "The bows of the mighty men are broken, and they that stumbled are girded with strength" (1 Sam 2:4; see Matt 5:40 "coat"/"cloke").
ED: Fast in a safer hand
Held in a truer Land (5.3.1-2)

Syntax Figures

ANACOLUTHON: a digression of syntactic structure so that a sentence begins with a clause that is never resolved and ends with a different clause.

ASYNDETON: deletion of conjunctions between words in a series.

KJV: "And his name shall be called, Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace" (Isa 9:6).
ED: "We learned the Whole of Love --
The Alphabet -- the Words --
A Chapter -- then the mighty Book --
Then -- Revelation closed -- " (568; see also 637)

ELLIPSIS: omission of part of a phrase or clause structure.

SH: "We'll put on those [who] shall praise your excellence" (Hamlet 4.07.131)
ED: Nor then perhaps [is] reported (1651.1.3; see also 183, 296, 476)

HYPERBATON: unusual inversion of standard word order.

SH: (Hamlet 1.02.1-16).
ED: "Many a phrase has the English language -- " (276)

INVERSION: variation on standard word order as a poetic convention.

KJV: "great shall be the peace of thy children" (Isa 54:13; see also Matt 5:12).
ED: A pensive Custom it becomes (1068.2.3; see also 130, 849, 1452)

ISOCOLON: successive phrases or clauses with the same number of syllables.

KJV: "She shall give to thine head an ornament of grace: [12 syll.]
a crown of glory shall she deliver to thee" [12]
(Pro 4:9)
ED: "A word is dead [4 syll.]
When it is said, [4]
Some say. [2]

I say it just [4]
Begins to live [4]
That day. [2](1212)

PAIRS: sets of two synonymous or antithetical words.

KJV: "thy rod and thy staff they comfort me" (Psa 23:4; see Matt 5:6, 5:18, 5:20)
ED: "a Spectre's Cloak / Hid Heaven and Earth from view" (198)

PARENTHESIS: a phrase or clause that interrupts an idea.

PARISON: successive phrases or clauses with the same syntactic structures.

KJV: "whither thou goest, I will go;
and where thou lodgest, I will lodge" (Ruth 1:16; see also Matt 5:19).
ED: Poor little Heart!
Did they forget thee?
Then dinna care! Then dinna care!

Proud little Heart!
Did they forsake thee?
Be debonnaire! Be debonnaire!

Frail little Heart!
I would not break thee --
Could'st credit me? Could'st credit me? (192; see also 1039)

POLYSYNDETON: words or phrases joined by conjunctions in a series.

KJV: And Noah went in, and his sons, and his wife, and his sons' wives with him, into the ark, because of the waters of the flood. (Gen 7:7; see also Matt 5:11)
ED: "There's Sarah, and Eliza, and Emmeline so fair,
And Harriet, and Susan, and she with curling hair!"

TRIADS: sets of three synonymous words.

SH: "a maid so tender, fair and happy" (OTH 1.02.66)

Lexis Figures

ANTITHESIS: words or phrases that contrast in meaning.

KJV: "for the letter killeth, but the Spirit giveth life" (2 Cor 3:6; see also Matt 5:17, 5:43).
ED: "If He were living -- dare I ask --
And how if He be dead -- " (734; see also 276)

AUXESIS: a series of words or ideas that increase (or decrease) in length or degree within a passage.

KJV: "Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake" (Matt 5:11; see also Matt 5:39-42)
ED: The Bees -- became as Butterflies --
The Butterflies -- as Swans --
Approached -- and spurned the narrow Grass --
And just the meanest Tunes

That Nature murmured to herself
To keep herself in Cheer --
I took for Giants -- practising
Titanic opera -- (593.3-4; see also 568)

CHIASMUS: similar words or phrases in inverse order.

KJV: "For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways" (Isa 55:8; see also Matt 5:9, 5:11, 5:44-45).
ED: A I shall know why -- when Time is over --
B And I have ceased to wonder why --
C Christ will explain each separate anguish
In the fair schoolroom of the sky --

C He will tell me what "Peter" promised --
B And I -- for wonder at his woe --
A I shall forget the drop of Anguish
That scalds me now -- that scalds me now!
(193; see also 437, 734, 1212)

NEOLOGISM: a new word "coined" into the language or borrowed from another language.

SH: "in the verity of extolement" (Hamlet 4.02.116).
ED: "Antiguest felt at Noon" (1068; see also 293, 1700)

OXYMORON: the juxtaposition of paradoxical or contradicting ideas.

KJV: "he that is greatest among you shall be your servant" (Matt 23:11; see also Matt 5:3, 5:5, 5:44).
ED: `Twas a Divine Insanity -- (593.7.1)

PARALLELISM: phrases or clauses with similar meanings.

KJV: "Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me" (Psa 51:10; Matt 5).
ED: "If I can ease one Life the Aching
Or cool one Pain //
Or help one fainting Robin
Unto his Nest again
I shall not live in Vain." (193; see also 632)

PERIPHRASIS: circumlocution; circuit; a long or roundabout way of expressing the meaning of a word, a phrase, or an idea.

KJV: "Enlarge the place of thy tent, and let them stretch forth the curtains of thine habitations: spare not, lengthen thy cords and strenthen thy stakes" [= make your home bigger] (Isa 54:2; see also Matt 5:11)
ED: "He parts Himself -- like Leaves --
And then -- He closes up --
Then stands upon the Bonnet
Of any Buttercup . . . " [= a butterfly] (517)

PLEONASM: redundancy; synonymy; repetition of synonymous words or phrases.

KJV: "Rejoice, and be exceeding glad" (Matt 5:12; see also Matt 5:44, Isa 54:1)
ED: And I -- for wonder at his woe --
I shall forget the drop of Anguish (193.2.2-3)

"This is the Sovereign Anguish!
This -- the signal woe!" (167.3.1-2)

PUN: word-play created by two words that sound the same but have different meanings.

KJV: "Sing, O barren, thou that didst not bear" (Isa 54:1).
ED: As if no soul the solstice passed (322; see also 564, 1561, 1700)

SENSE PLAY: word-play created by using two different senses of one word.

SH: "Ask for/ me tomorrow, and you shall find me a grave man" (Romeo and Juliet 3.01.97-98).
ED: Pathetic from the Grass
A minor Nation celebrates [=small / music key]
Its unobtrusive Mass. (1068.1.2-4) [=church service / group]

SORIASMUS: combination of words derived from different languages, especially words contrasting between Germanic and Romance vocabulary in English.

KJV: "Sanctify yourselves therefore, and be ye holy" (Lev 20:7).
ED: Once more, my now bewildered Dove
. . . Courage! My brave Columba! (48; see also 1039)


ALLUSION: a phrase or image which seems to refer to an exophoric literary text. For example, "And I for wonder at his woe" in Dickinson's Poem 193 may be an echo of or an allusion to Horatio's lines in Hamlet 5.2.362-3: "What is it you would see? / If ought of woe or wonder, cease your search."

BINDERS: rhetorical figures which give cohesion to units of text or discourse by the repetition and variation of linguistic elements.

phrase pattern: repetition/variation within a phrase.
line pattern: rep/var within a line.
line binder: rep/var between successive lines.
passage binder: rep/var within a speaker's passage.
dialogue binder: rep/var between speakers' lines.
word binder: rep/var connecting two key words between or within langugage units

BREVIA: succinctness; a terse style with concise expressions.

"Jesus wept" (John 11:35).

COPIA: wordiness; verbosity; a profuse style, with lengthy expressions, using pleonasm, periphrasis, and so forth.

HYPERTACTIC STRUCTURE: sentence structure that uses mainly subordinate clauses with main clauses.

PARATACTIC STRUCTURE: sentence structure that uses mainly coordinate clauses, often parallel in syntax.

PLAIN STYLE: the tongue of angels; a humble, pure, and sincere style, patterned after the words of Christ, using the music of language to endorse the truth in love and life. (See 1 Cor 13).

REGISTER: levels of formality in speech and writing, such as frozen, high, normal, low, colloquial, and so forth. For example,

"Hey, Dude!"
"What's up?"

"How are ya?"
"How are you?"
"How do you do?"

WORD CHAIN: a set of words or images from the same semantic domain, which seem to tie a text together.

ED: I dwell in Possibility --
A fairer House than Prose --
More numerous of Windows --
Superior -- for Doors --

Of Chambers as the Cedars --
Impregnable of Eye --
And for an Everlasting Roof
The Gambrels of the Sky -- (657.1-2)

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1998-1999 © Dr. Cynthia L. Hallen
Department of Linguistics
Brigham Young University
Last Updated: Monday, September 6, 1999