hen·​di·​a·​dys hen-ˈdī-ə-dəs How to pronounce hendiadys (audio)
: the expression of an idea by the use of usually two independent words connected by and (such as nice and warm) instead of the usual combination of independent word and its modifier (such as nicely warm)

Did you know?

William Shakespeare often used hendiadys. For example, his character Macbeth, speaking of the passage of life, says "It is a tale / Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, / Signifying nothing." For Shakespeare, the construction "sound and fury" was more effective than "furious sound." The word hendiadys is a modification of the Greek phrase hen dia dyoin. Given that hen dia dyoin literally means "one through two," it's a perfect parent for a word that describes the expression of a single concept using two words, as in the phrase "rough and tough." As you can imagine, hendiadys is a common element in everyday speech and writing.

Word History


Late Latin hendiadys, hendiadyoin, modification of Greek hen dia dyoin, literally, one through two

First Known Use

1589, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of hendiadys was in 1589


Dictionary Entries Near hendiadys

Cite this Entry

“Hendiadys.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/hendiadys. Accessed 20 May. 2024.

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