anaphora

play
noun anaph·o·ra \ə-ˈna-f(ə-)rə\

Definition of anaphora

  1. 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. 2 :  use of a grammatical substitute (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."

Origin and Etymology of 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


First Known Use: circa 1589

Other Grammar and Linguistics Terms


Learn More about anaphora


Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up anaphora? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

of, relating to, or resembling a fox

Get Word of the Day daily email!

WORD GAMES

Take a 3-minute break and test your skills!

  • alphabet-magnets
  • Which is the correct spelling?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ