Wednesday Writing Word: Epanalepsis


/ˌɛpənəˈlɛpsɪs/  |  EP-ah-nuh-LEP-sis


Epanalepsis is the repetition of a sentence’s (or occasionally clause’s) first word or phrase at its end.  Used for a particular sort of poetic emphasis, it can sound pretty awkward if not done carefully.



  • Wretched is the slog, for its intentions are wretched.
  • You must be wary of the slog‘s embrace; it is cruel yet inviting, and of its allure you must be wary.


Epanalepsis.  Use it.


Bene scribete.

Wednesday Writing Word: Polyseme


/ˈpɒliˌsim/  |  PAUL-ee-seem


Polysemy is the semantic relation among identical words of affiliated or derived meaning.   A polyseme can be as simple as a word with multiple similar contexts (mattress pad / paw pad / mouse pad), but they are more interesting and useful when they cross part-of-speech borders.  If we say “He will bat the bat with a bat,” bat (swat) and bat (baseball) are polysemes, whereas they are merely homonyms with bat (animal).


Other examples:


Polysemy.  Use it.


Bene scribete.

Wednesday Writing Word: Anaphora


/əˈnæfərə/  |  uh-NAFF-or-uh


Anaphora means…two separate things.  Because why not coin long, obscure words for extremely specific purposes only to use them again for something completely different?  O.K., O.K., the etymology (Greek, ~”bringing back”) does lend itself toward both definitions, but still.

The first refers to using a word to stand in for something that came before it.  Typically, this just means your average pronoun-antecedent reference, but it can also apply to certain auxiliary verbs.



  • I hate the slog because it is the worst.
  • I want to annihilate the slog; so does Billy.


The second (and more fun) anaphora is the repetition of a word or phrase at the beginning of multiple sequential sentences or clauses.  Used as emphatic redundancy.



  • We are here to make a statement.  We are here to take a stand.  We are here to face the slog.
  • I don’t like the slog, I don’t like that it exists, and I don’t like that it doesn’t not exist.


(…technically, there’s also a third definition, but it isn’t related to linguistics, so it can just…not…be here)


Anaphora.  Use it.


Bene scribete.

Wednesday Writing Word: Antimetabole

English has a lot of words.  It has words for things you may not necessarily think there would be words for – particularly when it comes to language itself.

But words are fun, right?  Of course they are!  So, I thought I’d do a series on obscure linguistic and rhetoric terms.  If one or more of them are new to you, then the next time you use a particular device, you’ll…realize that…it’s a thing?

Anyway, let’s get started.


/ˌæntɨməˈtæbəli/  |  AN-tih-meh-TAB-o-lee


Antimetabole is the reversal of a phrase when recast in a subsequent clause.  Sometimes used for poetic emphasis or humor, sometimes merely for reflection.  Think Yakov Smirnoff jokes.



  • In knowing that the slog hates you, so should you hate the slog.
  • The slog lives to fail, and in doing so fails to live.


Antimetabole.  Use it.


Bene scribete.