epistrophe

noun
epis·​tro·​phe | \ i-ˈpi-strə-(ˌ)fē How to pronounce epistrophe (audio) \

Definition of epistrophe

: repetition of a word or expression at the end of successive phrases, clauses, sentences, or verses especially for rhetorical or poetic effect (such as Lincoln's "of the people, by the people, for the people") — compare anaphora

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 epistrophe

circa 1584, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for epistrophe

Greek epistrophē, literally, turning about, from epi- + strophē turning — more at strophe

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Time Traveler for epistrophe

Time Traveler

The first known use of epistrophe was circa 1584

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Cite this Entry

“Epistrophe.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/epistrophe. Accessed 22 January 2020.

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