Word of the Day : October 14, 2011


noun hen-DYE-uh-dis


: the expression of an idea by the use of usually two independent words connected by and (as nice and 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.


The hendiadys "good and loud" appears in many reviews of the concert. "In the source text, Claudius's distress is represented through doubling -- more specifically, in the form of a hendiadys where the two nouns 'discord' and 'dismay' are connected by 'and,' which creates intensification." -- From Roshni Mooneeram and Jonathan Hope's 2009 book From Creole to Standard: Shakespeare, Language, and Literature in a Postcolonial Context

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