anaphora

noun
anaph·​o·​ra | \ ə-ˈna-f(ə-)rə How to pronounce anaphora (audio) \

Definition of anaphora

1 : repetition of a word or expression at the beginning of successive phrases, clauses, sentences, or verses especially for rhetorical or poetic effect Lincoln's "we cannot dedicate—we cannot consecrate—we cannot hallow—this ground" is an example of anaphora — compare epistrophe
2 : use of a grammatical substitute (such as a pronoun or a pro-verb) to refer to the denotation of a preceding word or group of words also : the relation between a grammatical substitute and its antecedent

What is the difference between anaphora and epistrophe?

An anaphora is a rhetorical device in which a word or expression is repeated at the beginning of a number of sentences, clauses, or phrases. A well-known example of this may be found in the speech given by Winston Churchill to the House of Commons on June 4th, 1940: "We shall fight in France, we shall fight on the seas and oceans, we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air…" The anaphora may be contrasted with the epistrophe, which is similar in nature, but describes the repetition of a word which occurs at the end of a phrase, sentence, or clause, rather than the beginning. A famous example of epistrophe is found in Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address: "…and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth."

First Known Use of anaphora

1572, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for anaphora

Late Latin, from Late Greek, from Greek, act of carrying back, reference, from anapherein to carry back, refer, from ana- + pherein to carry — more at bear

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The first known use of anaphora was in 1572

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Cite this Entry

“Anaphora.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/anaphora. Accessed 23 Oct. 2020.

More from Merriam-Webster on anaphora

Nglish: Translation of anaphora for Spanish Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about anaphora

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