From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

Synchysis is a rhetorical technique wherein words are intentionally scattered to create bewilderment.[1][2] By disrupting the normal course of a sentence, it forces the audience to consider the meaning of the words and the relationship between them.[3]


"Abraham George Lincoln Washington"

"I run and shoot, fast and accurate."

"Matter too soft a lasting mark to bear" --Alexander Pope, "Epistle II. To a Lady" (1743)

Golden happy ring girl.

In Poetry[edit]

This poetry form was a favorite with Latin poets. They are often employed to demonstrate such change within the event in which they are situated; on occasion, there are synchyses within a poem which were not intended but happened to be written in such a way. It is described by Silva Rhetoricae as "Hyperbaton or anastrophe taken to an obscuring extreme, either accidentally or purposefully."[4]

A synchysis may be opposed to chiasmus, which is in the form A-B-B-A.

A line of Latin verse in the form adjective A - adjective B - verb - noun A - noun B, with the verb in the center (or a corresponding chiastic line, again with the verb in the center), is known as a golden line. A highly common occurrence in Virgil's Aeneid,[5] it is first seen in the work in line four: "Vi superum, saevae memorem Iunonis ob iram," with Saevae (cruel) modifying Iunonis, and memorem (remembering or mindful) modifying iram (anger). The Latin system of case endings makes such a verse possible.

A second example of this is aurea purpuream subnectit fibula vestem, "a golden clasp bound her purple cloak" (Virgil, Aeneid 4.139). Usually, synchysis is formed through the adjective A- adjective B- noun A- noun B structure, but it can also exist as adjective-noun-adjective-noun.[6]

Today, it is mainly found in poetry,[7] where poets use it to maintain metre or rhyme.[8]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Gaynor, Frank (1954). A Dictionary of Linguistics. Philosophical Library. p. 209. 
  2. ^ Enos, Theresa (2010). Encyclopedia of Rhetoric and Composition : communication From Ancient Times to the Information Age. New York: Routledge. p. 271. ISBN 0415875242. 
  3. ^ "Synchysis". Changing Minds. Retrieved 22 October 2013. 
  4. ^ Silva Rhetoricae,
  5. ^ Pharr, Grammatical Appendix
  6. ^ Alford, L.D. "Rising Action – Figures of Speech, Synchysis". Retrieved 22 October 2013. 
  7. ^ "Synchysis". Changing Minds. Retrieved 22 October 2013. 
  8. ^ Zimmerman, Brett (2005). Edgar Allan Poe: Rhetoric and Style ([Online-Ausg.]. ed.). Montreal: McGill-Queen's University Press. p. 129. ISBN 0773528997.