639. Many of these terms are pedantic names given by early grammarians to forms of speech used naturally by writers who were not conscious that they were using figures at all—as, indeed, they were not. Thus when one says, “It gave me no little pleasure,” he is unconsciously using litotes; when he says, “John went up the street, James down,” antithesis; when he says, “High as the sky,” hyperbole. Many were given under a mistaken notion of the nature of the usage referred to. Thus mēd and tēd (§ 143. a. N.) were supposed to owe their d to paragoge , sūmpsī its p to epenthesis. Such a sentence as “See my coat, how well it fits!” was supposed to be an irregularity to be accounted for by prolepsis.

Many of these, however, are convenient designations for phenomena which often occur; and most of them have an historic interest, of one kind or another.


Grammatical Terms

Anacoluthon: a change of construction in the same sentence, leaving the first part broken or unfinished.

Anastrophe: inversion of the usual order of words.

Apodosis: the conclusion of a conditional sentence (see Protasis ).

Archaism: an adoption of old or obsolete forms.

Asyndeton: omission of conjunctions (§ 323. b).

Barbarism: adoption of foreign or unauthorized forms.

Brachylogy: brevity of expression.

Crasis: contraction of two vowels into one (§ 15. 3).

Ellipsis: omission of a word or words necessary to complete the sense.

Enallage: substitution of one word or form for another.

Epenthesis: insertion of a letter or syllable.

Hellenism: use of Greek forms or constructions.

Hendiadys ( ἓν διὰ δυοῖν ): the use of two nouns, with a conjunction, instead of a single modified noun.

Hypallage: interchange of constructions.

Hysteron proteron: a reversing of the natural order of ideas.

This term was applied to cases where the natural sequence of events is violated in language because the later event is of more importance than the earlier and so comes first to the mind. This was supposed to be an artificial embellishment in Greek, and so was imitated in Latin. It is still found in artless narrative; cf. “Bred and Born in a Brier Bush” (Uncle Remus).

Metathesis: transposition of letters in a word.

Paragoge: addition of a letter or letters to the end of a word.

Parenthesis: insertion of a phrase interrupting the construction.

Periphrasis: a roundabout way of expression (circumlocution).

Pleonasm: the use of needless words.

Polysyndeton: the use of an unnecessary number of copulative conjunctions.

Prolepsis: the use of a word in the clause preceding the one where it would naturally appear (anticipation).

Protasis: a clause introduced by a conditional expression (if, when, whoever), leading to a conclusion called the Apodosis (§ 512).

Syncope: omission of a letter or syllable from the middle of a word.

Synesis ( cōnstrūctiō ad sēnsum : agreement of words according to the sense, and not the grammatical form (§ 280. a).

Tmesis: the separation of the two parts of a compound word by other words (cutting).

This term came from the earlier separation of prepositions (originally adverbs) from the verbs with which they were afterwards joined; so in per ecastor scītus puer, a very fine boy, egad! As this was supposed to be intentional, it was ignorantly imitated in Latin; as in cere- comminuit -brum (Ennius).

Zeugma: the use of a verb or an adjective with two different words, to only one of which it strictly applies (yoking).


Rhetorical Figures

Allegory: a narrative in which abstract ideas figure as circumstances, events, or persons, in order to enforce some moral truth.

Alliteration: the use of several words that begin with the same sound.

Analogy: argument from resemblances.

Anaphora: the repetition of a word at the beginning of successive clauses (§ 598. f).

Antithesis: opposition, or contrast of parts (for emphasis: § 598. f).

Antonomasia: use of a proper for a common noun, or the reverse:—

    sint Maecēnātēs, nōn deerunt, Flacce, Marōnēs, so there be patrons (like Mæcenas), poets (like Virgil) will not be lacking, Flaccus (Mart. 8.56.5 ).
  1. illa furia et pestis, that fury and plague (i.e. Clodius); Homēromastīx, scourge of Homer (i.e. Zoilus).

Aposiopesis: an abrupt pause for rhetorical effect.

Catachresis: a harsh metaphor ( abūsiō , misuse of words).

Chiasmus: a reversing of the order of words in corresponding pairs of phrases (§ 598. f).

Climax: a gradual increase of emphasis, or enlargement of meaning.

Euphemism: the mild expression of a painful or repulsive idea:—

  1. quid acciderit, if anything happens to him (i.e. if he dies).

Euphony: the choice of words for their agreeable sound.

Hyperbaton: violation of the usual order of words.

Hyperbole: exaggeration for rhetorical effect.

Irony: the use of words which naturally convey a sense contrary to what is meant.

Litotes: the affirming of a thing by denying its contrary (§ 326. c).

Metaphor: the figurative use of words, indicating an object by some resemblance.

Metonymy: the use of the name of one thing to indicate some kindred thing

Onomatopœia: a fitting of sound to sense in the use of words.

Oxymoron: the use of contradictory words in the same phrase:—

  1. īnsāniēns sapientia, foolish wisdom.

Paronomasia: the use of words of like sound.

Prosopopœia: personification.

Simile: a figurative comparison (usually introduced by like, or as).

Synchysis: the interlocked order (§ 598. h).

Synecdoche: the use of the name of a part for the whole, or the reverse.


Terms of Prosody

Acatalectic: complete, as a verse or a series of feet (§ 612. a).

Anaclasis: breaking up of rhythm by substituting different measures.

Anacrusis: the unaccented syllable or syllables preceding a verse (§ 608. g

Antistrophe: a series of verses corresponding to one which has gone before (cf. strophe).

Arsis: the unaccented part of a foot (§ 611).

Basis: a single foot preceding the regular movement of a verse.

Cæsura: the ending of a word within a metrical foot (§ 611. b).

Catalectic: see Catalexis.

Catalexis: loss of a final syllable (or syllables) making the series catalectic (incomplete, § 612. a).

Contraction: the use of one long syllable for two short (§ 610).

Correption: shortening of a long syllable, for metrical reasons.

Diœresis: the coincidence of the end of a foot with the end of a word within the verse (§ 611. c).

Dialysis: the use of i (consonant) and v as vowels ( silüa = silva , § 603. f. N.4).

Diastole: the lengthening of a short syllable by emphasis (§ 612. b).

Dimeter: consisting of two like measures.

Dipody: consisting of two like feet.

Distich: a system or series of two verses.

Ecthlipsis: the suppression of a final syllable in -m before a word beginning with a vowel (§ 612. f.).

Elision: the cutting off of a final before a following initial vowel (§ 612. e).

Heptameter: consisting of seven feet.

Hexameter: consisting of six measures.

Hexapody: consisting of six feet.

Hiatus: the meeting of two vowels without contraction or elision (§ 612. g).

Ictus: the metrical accent (§ 611. a).

Irrational: not conforming strictly to the unit of time (§ 609. e).

Logaœdic: varying in rhythm, making the effect resemble prose (§ 623).

Monometer: consisting of a single measure.

Mora: the unit of time, equal to one short syllable (§ 608. a).

Pentameter: consisting of five measures.

Pentapody: consisting of five feet.

Penthemimeris: consisting of five half-feet.

Protraction: extension of a syllable beyond its normal length (608. c).

Resolution: the use of two short syllables for one long (§ 610).

Strophe: a series of verses making a recognized metrical whole (stanza), which may be indefinitely repeated.

Synœresis: i (vowel) and u becoming consonants before a vowel (§ 603. c. N., f. N.4).

Synalœpha: the same as elision (§ 612. e. N.).

Synapheia: elision between two verses (§ 612. e. N.).

Syncope: loss of a short vowel.

Synizesis: the running together of two vowels without full contraction (§ 603 c. N.).

Systole: shortening of a syllable regularly long.

Tetrameter: consisting of four measures.

Tetrapody: consisting of four feet.

Tetrastich: a system of four verses.

Thesis: the accented part of a foot (§ 611).

Trimeter: consisting of three measures.

Tripody: consisting of three feet.

Tristich: a system of three verses.

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