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Adynaton

 

Techniques > Use of language > Figures of speech > Adynaton

Method | Example | Discussion | See also

 

Description

Adynaton is a declaration of impossibility, often in an obviously exaggerated comparison.

Example

It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than a sinner get into the kingdom of heaven.

You've got as much chance with her as I have of becoming president.

Discussion

When something happens or is said that we consider highly unlikely, we are shocked and want to express our extreme emotion. Adynaton allows us to do this by exaggeration. An easy way of doing this is by using a contrasting comparison.

Adynaton may well be used in a critical or cynical context, where concern for the other person's feelings is not high on the speaker's list of priorities.

Classification: Distortion, Meaning

See also

Amplification principle

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