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In rhetoric, antimetabole (/æntɨməˈtæbəl/ AN-ti-mə-TAB-ə-lee) is the repetition of words in successive clauses, but in transposed order (e.g., "I know what I like, and I like what I know"). It is similar to chiasmus although chiasmus does not use repetition of the same words or phrases.


  • "Eat to live, not live to eat." Attributed to Socrates
  • Latin: Miser ex potente fiat ex misero potens Seneca the Younger, Thyestes, Act I.10 (let it make misery from power and power from misery).
  • "Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country." John F. Kennedy, Inaugural Address, January 20, 1961.
  • "There is nothing wrong with America that cannot be cured by what is right with America." - Bill Clinton, First Inaugural Address, January 20, 1993.
  • "He who questions training only trains himself at asking questions." The Sphinx, Mystery Men (1999)
  • "You stood up for America, now America must stand up for you." Barack Obama - December 14, 2011.
  • ""When the power of love overcomes the love of power, the world will know peace," - Jimi Hendrix paraphrasing William Gladstone who originally said " "We look forward to the time when the Power of Love will replace the Love of Power. Then will our world know the blessings of peace."
  • "With my mind on my money and my money on my mind."- Attributed to Tupac Shakur in the song Gotta get mine
  • "In America, you can always find a party. In Soviet Russia, Party always finds you!" - Yakov Smirnoff
  • "'Beauty is truth, truth beauty,'—that is all / Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know." John Keats, "Ode on a Grecian Urn"
  • "If you fail to plan, plan to fail."
  • "The further I get from the things that I care about, the less I care about how much further away I get." - Robert Smith of The Cure ("Fear of Ghosts")
  • "The great object of [Hamlet's] life is defeated by continually resolving to do, yet doing nothing but resolve." - Samuel Taylor Coleridge on Shakespeare's Hamlet
  • "There cannot first be external peace if there is not first internal peace, and once you figure that out then I promise you, the entire world will transform, will change; and as more people find themselves, mankind has the opportunity to become kind man" Prince Ea
  • "We do what we like and we like what we do." - Andrew W.K., "Party Hard"
  • "Failing to prepare is preparing to fail." - John Wooden
  • "We didn't land on Plymouth Rock. Plymouth Rock landed on us." - Malcolm X, Malcolm X
  • "If you can't be with the one you love, love the one you're with." --Billy Preston
  • "I meant what I said, and I said what I meant." --Dr. Seuss, Horton Hatches the Egg
  • "I am what I am, and that's all that I am." --Popeye


It is derived from the Greek ἀντιμεταβολή from ἀντί (antí), "against, opposite" and μεταβολή (metabolē), "turning about, change".

See also[edit]


  • Corbett, Edward P.J. Classical Rhetoric for the Modern Student. Oxford University Press, New York, 1971.

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