Definition of anastrophe
: inversion of the usual syntactical order of words for rhetorical effect — compare hysteron proteron
anastrophe was our Word of the Day on 06/24/2015. Hear the podcast!
Did You Know?
Powerful you have become Dooku, the dark side I sense in you. Fans of Star Wars will recognize Yoda's line in Attack of the Clones. Others might guess that Yoda is the speaker because of the unconventional syntax that is the hallmark of Yoda's speech. (In typical Yoda fashion, the subject is second instead of first in both clauses-it follows a predicate adjective and the direct object, respectively.) The name for this kind of syntactical inversion is anastrophe, from the Greek verb anastrephein, meaning "to turn back." President John F. Kennedy employed anastrophe for rhetorical effect when he inverted the typical positive-to-negative parallelism in his famous line "Ask not what your country can do for you-ask what you can do for your country." In poetry, anastrophe is often used to create rhythm, as in these lines from Lewis Carroll's "Jabberwocky": "So rested he by the Tumtum tree, / And stood awhile in thought."
Origin and Etymology of anastrophe
Medieval Latin, from Greek anastrophē, literally, turning back, from anastrephein to turn back, from ana- + strephein to turn
First Known Use: circa 1550
Learn More about anastrophe
Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about anastrophe
Seen and Heard
What made you want to look up anastrophe? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).