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Chiasmus

 

Techniques > Use of language > Figures of speech > Chiasmus

Method | Example | Discussion | See also

 

Description

Chiasmus is a reversal of words in consecutive phrases.

Example

She gave me hope and hopefully I gave my loyalty.

I thought you good, originally, but your originality is not that good.

He who sheds the blood of man, by man, shall his blood be shed -- Genesis 9.6

Discussion

The general pattern of chiasmus is A B, B A. This may be extended to multiple words and can even be ABCD, DCBA. The repetition of words may be in a different sense and with alternative individual, as well as collective, meaning.

Repetition acts as a form of emphasis, drawing attention through creation of a pattern of similar words. The confusion caused, forces the listener to review what was said in order to make sense of the full meaning. Its impact makes various forms of chiasmus popular with speech-makers.

Chiasmus includes antimetabole and anadiplosis, although the reverse is not true.

Chiasmus is also known as Epanodos.

Classification: Repetition, Reversal, Grammar

See also

 

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