ant·​anac·​la·​sis ˌan-tə-ˈna-klə-səs How to pronounce antanaclasis (audio)
: the repetition of a word within a phrase or sentence in which the second occurrence utilizes a different and sometimes contrary meaning from the first
… believes the "Word" … in John 1:1 represents the figure antanaclasis … and changes its meaning each time it is repeated in a manner similar to Ben Franklin's quip, "We must all hang together or most assuredly we shall all hang separately."Ventura County Star, 6 Sept. 1997

Word History


borrowed from Latin (cited in Greek form in Quintilian), borrowed from Greek antanáklasis "reflection, echo," from ant- anti- entry 1 + anáklasis "bending back, reflection"

First Known Use

1656, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of antanaclasis was in 1656

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Dictionary Entries Near antanaclasis

Cite this Entry

“Antanaclasis.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 20 May. 2024.

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