an·​a·​lep·​sis | \ ˌanəˈlepsə̇s \
plural analepses\ -​(ˌ)sēz \

Definition of analepsis

1 Eastern Church : the feast of Christ's ascension into heaven
2a : a literary technique that involves interruption of the chronological sequence of events by interjection of events or scenes of earlier occurrence Through analepsis, Paul recounts the story of his uncle's mysterious disappearance and death during the violent days of October 1961 in Paris.— Lia Brozgal, French Forum, 22 Mar. 2009
b : a description of an event or scene from an earlier time that interrupts a chronological narrative : a literary flashback … Balzac had criticized the style of the Chartreuse and its too-linear construction, advising the author to eliminate everything that comes before Waterloo and sum it up in an analepsis— Gérard Genette, Paratexts: Thresholds of Interpretation, 1997 In the course of the prophetic vision Artabanus also weaves in a brief analepsis, the Persian defeat at Marathon, … thereby countering Mardonius' falsely optimistic picture of the Greek enemy …— Irene De Jong, Texts, Ideas, and the Classics: Scholarship, Theory, and Classical Literature, 2001

Love words?

You must — there are over 200,000 words in our free online dictionary, but you are looking for one that’s only in the Merriam-Webster Unabridged Dictionary.

Start your free trial today and get unlimited access to America's largest dictionary, with:

  • More than 250,000 words that aren't in our free dictionary
  • Expanded definitions, etymologies, and usage notes
  • Advanced search features
  • Ad free!

First Known Use of analepsis

1868, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for analepsis

Late Greek analēpsis, from Greek, act of taking up, from ana- + lēpsis act of taking, from lambanein to take

Learn More About analepsis

Time Traveler for analepsis

Time Traveler

The first known use of analepsis was in 1868

See more words from the same year

Dictionary Entries Near analepsis




See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for analepsis

Cite this Entry

“Analepsis.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 26 Jun. 2022.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon


Test Your Vocabulary

Odd Habits and Quirks

  • image1926873504
  • Which of the following best describes an easily irritated person?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!