Figures of Speech
by Paul Niquette
Copyright 2005 by Paul Niquette. All rights reserved.
Adapted from Puzzles with a Purpose
 
The movement of first moment is the moment of first movement.
-- 101 Words I Don't Use

or those who care to know how this entry came about: I was merely trying to figure out what figure of speech might apply to an extraordinary passage that arose spontaneously in a dream.  The label that works as well as any is antimetabole -- Figure of emphasis in which the words in one phrase or clause are replicated, exactly or closely, in reverse grammatical order in the next phrase or clause; an inverted order of repeated words in adjacent phrases or clauses (A-B, B-A).  Certainly better than antithesis in the list below, don't you think?

Amazing that people have put so much effort into naming Figures of Speech.  To my astonishment, the puzzle version of Figures of Speech gets hundreds of visitors year after year, possibly high-schoolers with nightmare assignments. 

accumulatio
Repetition in other words: Come here, draw near, get close, sit in back and you will flunk.
anadiplosis
Repetition of an end at the next beginning: "When you lie, lie from the heart." (Rally Round the Flag, Boys by Max Schulman)
anaphora
Repetition of beginnings: Big deal! Big deal!  Big frigging deal!
anapodoton
Omission of a clause: That just goes to show you.
anastrophe
Arrangement by reversal of order: Fly the flight fantastic.
antanclasis
Repetition in different senses: He had come and gone, for he was far gone.
anthimeria
Substitution of one part of speech for another: Her husband's drink was drunk and so was her husband.
antiptosis
Substitution of a prepositional phrase for an adjective: pillar of salt; place of hope; blue of the sky
antisthecon
Substitution of letter(s): jist a dang minit; glimorous blond beauty; thar she blows.
antithesis
Repetition by negation: You are a real man when you raise a child not when you make a baby.
aphaersis
Omission of letter(s) at the beginning: 'nough said, "My country 'tis of thee."
apocope
Omission of letter(s) from the end:  D'ja eat? No, d'jew? "Wha's up?"
aporia
Talking about not being able to talk about: "I don't want to criticise, but..."
aposiopesis
Breaking off as if unable or unwilling to continue: "Oh, the humanity...!"
asyndeton
Omission of a conjunction: "I am firm, thou art obstinate, he is a pig-headed fool."
asterismos
Addition of a word to emphasize what follows: "Eureka, I've found it!"  Nota bene, the Law of Unintended Consequences has prevailed.
auxesis


 

Arrangement in ascending importance: "There may be dozens, no hundreds, probably thousands of fair damsels in distress!" (Alligator in Pogo by Walt Kelly)
brachylogia


 

Omission of a conjunction between words or phrases: The battlefield was strewn with death, destruction, unexploded ordnance.
catachresis


 

Apparent inappropriate substitution of one word for another: frowning posture; giggling eyebrows; laughing shoes; "This is not rocket surgery, here."
diacope
Repetition with only a word or two between: Explosions, gut-wrenching explosions began at dawn.
ellipsis
Omission of a phrase: When anything is considered art, nothing is.
enallage
Substitution of one grammatical form for another, an effective grammatical mistake: Who done it?  "I can't get no satisfaction."  Technology: If you don't got it, you gotta get it or you get got by it.
enthymene
Omission of a logically implied clause: Rich is sagacious because Rich is rich.
epanados
Repetition in the opposite order: In economics, causes precede effects and effects precede causes.
epanalepsis
Repetition of the beginning at the end: The obvious is not always obvious.
epanorthosis
Addition by correction: I am losing, indeed I have lost.
epenthesis
Addition of letter(s) to the middle: fandamntastic; absobloominlutely; enterboringtainment.
epistrophe
Repetition of ends: The hemlines go higher, the heels go higher, the prices go higher.
epizeuxis
Immediate repetition: Get out, get out at once.
gradatio
Repeated anadiplosis: Demand accelerates, products become scarce, currencies dwindle in value, wages stagnate, quality of life worsens, people despair.
hendiadys
Substitution of a conjunction as a modifier: "bright colors" becomes "bright and colorful"
hypallage
Reversal which seems to change the sense: "flowers of the valley" becomes "the valley of flowers."
hyperbaton
Misplacement of a single element: She slapped his face twice across.  The pilot rocked his wings, grinning.
hysteron-proteron
Reversal of temporal order: Take a bow and give your best performance.
isocolon
Repetition of grammatical forms: The bigger they are, the slower they pay.
metaplasmus
Effective misspelling: dog nab it; sects in churches (groan)
metanymy
Substitution of a word for a related word such as cause for effect: "Beauty is in the eye of the beholder."
paradiastole


 

Addition of a disjunctive conjunction: No data, no experimental protocols nor hypothesis for testing, nor logic will assure the proper disposition of fallacies.
periphrasis
Substitution of more words for less: I gave you a gift free and clear to keep for your very own.
pleonasm

 

Addition of superfluous words: "Do not fold, spindle, or mutilate." "I was not involved in any way, shape, or form."  "Tampering with, disabling, or destroying a smoke detector in the lavatory is prohibited by law." 
ploce
Repetition of a word in a general and restricted sense: bigger than big; darker than dark; more savvy than smart.
polyptoton
Repetition of the same word or root in different grammatical function: She does not know what there is to be known.
polysyndeton
Addition of conjunctions: The mainsail jibed and whipped and tore loose from the mast.
praeteritio
Inclusion of something by pretending to omit it: The president does not impugne the political trickery of those who support his opponent.
proparalepsis
Addition of letter(s) to the end: elegancelessness; goblinesque; obviosity; smithereendom, disdainish.
prosthesis
Addition of letter(s) to the beginning: enfilth, kersplashed, gazillion, propushed
repetitio
Irregular repetition of a word or phrase: Streak upon streak, the effluvia streaked and got streaked.
scesis onamaton


 

Omission of the only verb of a sentence: Best not in this setting.  Later, alligator. "A crown to drink!" (A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens) 
syllepsis
Omission entailing a pun: Marriage brought out the best in that woman, chastity.
synaloepha


 

Omission of a vowel and arrangement of two words into one: That'll sure dampen your drawstrings. "Lower'n a snake's belly in a wagon-wheel rut."
synecdoche
Substitution of the part for a whole: Lust in the eye trumps righteousness in the soul.
tmesis
Arrangement of one word into two: dis courage; em phasis; anti body; poly math
zeugma


 

Ellipsis of a verb from one of two parallel clauses: "The business man left in high spirits and a Cadillac"; "To err is human; to forgive, divine."
The illustrative examples above that are of low literary merit can be blamed on their originator, me.  The rest are remembered snippets from forgotten sources. 

A compendium of venerable quotations from Shakespeare, The Bible and others can be found in Figures of Speech: 60 ways to turn a phrase (Gibbs M. Smith Inc. Salt Lake City 1982, long out of print) in the preface of which the late Arthur Quinn described them as follows: "They are there -- must I confess? -- for imitation."

Not included in this collection is surely the most popular Figure of Speech in any language.  For an entry in 101 Words I Don't Use, the author explored  paraprosdakian.


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