noun an·a·co·lu·thon \ˌa-nə-kə-ˈlü-ˌthän\

Definition of anacoluthon



play \-thə\ also


  1. :  syntactical inconsistency or incoherence within a sentence; especially :  a shift in an unfinished sentence from one syntactic construction to another (as in “you really ought—well, do it your own way”)


play \-thik\ adjective


play \-thi-k(ə-)lē\ adverb

anacoluthon was our Word of the Day on 07/18/2011. Hear the podcast!

Did You Know?

Looking at examples of - never mind that, we can't think of any - let us look at the history of "anacoluthon." (Or maybe we can think of an example. The shift in the preceding sentence from "looking at examples of" to "let us look at the root of" is one!) "Anacoluthon" traces back to Greek anakolouthos, which means "inconsistent" and is a compound of "an-" ("not") and "akolouthos" ("following"). Anacolutha (the word's plural form) frequently occur in speech and in literary writing especially to express excited or distraught emotion or thoughts.

Origin and Etymology of anacoluthon

Late Latin, from Late Greek anakolouthon inconsistency in logic, from Greek, neuter of anakolouthos inconsistent, from an- + akolouthos following, from ha-, a- together + keleuthos path

First Known Use: circa 1706

Other Grammar and Linguistics Terms

Seen and Heard

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feeling or affected by lethargy

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