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In rhetoric, antanaclasis (/æntəˈnækləsɪs, ˌæntænəˈklæsɪs/; from the Greek: ἀντανάκλασις, antanáklasis, meaning "reflection",[1] from ἀντί anti, "against", ἀνά ana, "up" and κλάσις klásis "breaking") is the literary trope in which a single word or phrase is repeated, but in two different senses.[2] Antanaclasis is a common type of pun, and like other kinds of pun, it is often found in slogans.[3]


  • Your argument is sound, nothing but sound. — Benjamin Franklin. The word sound in the first instance means "solid" or "reasonable". The second instance of sound means "noise".[4][5]
  • “In Genua, someone set out to make dreams come true... Remember some of your dreams?” – Sir Terry Pratchett.[7] The first usage of dreams refers to aspirations or desires, while the second refers to literal dreams.
  • a new nation... dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal... a great civil war, testing whether that nation... can long endure. — Gettysburg Address by Abraham Lincoln
  • The Chinese poem Shī-shì shí shī shǐ, although this is not a perfect example, because the words are written differently in the original language and pronounced with different tones when read aloud.


  • Put out the light, then put out the light. — From Othello. Othello utters these words to himself as he enters Desdemona's chamber while she sleeps, intending to murder her. The first instance of put the light out means he will quench the candle, and the second instance means he will end the life of Desdemona.[8]
  • I will dissemble myself in't; and I would I were the first that ever dissembled in such a gown. — In Twelfth Night, the fool Feste, where dissemble changes from "disguise" to "act hypocritically".[9][10]
  • Whoever hath her wish, thou hast thy Will
    And Will to boot, and Will in overplus... — Shakespeare's Sonnet 135. The speaker is named Will, but the woman he is addressing has another lover who is also named Will. In this sonnet, the word will is used thirteen times, meaning "William", "sexual desire", "penis", or "vagina", depending on the context (and it usually means more than one of these things at once).[11][12]


  • "Time flies like an arrow; fruit flies like a banana" is an example of a garden path sentence – the first half of the sentence misleads the reader into parsing the second half incorrectly. The exact origin of the phrase is unknown, but differing versions of it have appeared in print since the 1960s.
  • Benjamin Franklin, at the signing of the Declaration of Independence, is reported to have said: "We must, indeed, all hang together, or assuredly we shall all hang separately".[13] However, the phrase has also been attributed to Richard Penn in Alexander Graydon's Memoirs of a Life,[14] and appeared in Frederic Reynolds' play Life, first published in 1801.[15]
  • In an essay entitled "The Literati of New York City", Edgar Allan Poe wrote of George B. Cheever: "He is much better known, however, as the editor of The Commonplace Book of American Poetry, a work which has at least the merit of not belying its title, and is exceedingly commonplace".[16][17]
  • The American football coach Vince Lombardi once told his team: "If you aren't fired with enthusiasm, you will be fired, with enthusiasm".[18]


Responding to questions[edit]

Antanaclases are prevalent in humorous paraprosdokians employed when responding to a question. For example, in response to the question "how are you two?", an Israeli (Modern Hebrew) speaker can say בסדר גמור; היא בסדר, אני גמור be-séder gamúr; i be-séder, aní gamúr, literally "in-order complete; she in-order, I complete", i.e. "We are very good. She is good, I am finished".[21]:88 Note the ambiguity of the Israeli lexical item גמור gamúr: it means both "complete" and "finished".[21]:88 A parallel punning paraprosdokian in English is a man's response to a friend's question Why are you and your wife here?: A workshop; I am working, she is shopping.[21]:88

Latin literature[edit]

  • The Roman poet Lucretius in De rerum natura Book 3 line 365 observes that we sometimes find ourselves temporarily blinded by bright objects because "lumina luminibus quia nobis praepediuntur" (because our eyes are impeded by the lights), taking advantage of the fact that in Latin the same word can mean both "eye" and "light".

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Antanaklasis, Henry George Liddell, Robert Scott, A Greek-English Lexicon, at Perseus project
  2. ^ Dupriez, Bernard Marie (1991). A Dictionary of Literary Devices: Gradus, A-Z. University of Toronto Press. p. 44. ISBN 9780802068033.
  3. ^ Corbett and Connors, 1999. p.62-63
  4. ^ My English Pages. Retrieved 09 June, 2018.
  5. ^ Corbett and Connors, 1999. p.63
  6. ^ Corbett and Connors, 1999. p.62-63
  7. ^ Pratchett, Terry (1991). Witches Abroad. London: Victor Gollancz Ltd. ISBN 0-575-04980-4.
  8. ^ My English Pages. Retrieved 09 June, 2018.
  9. ^ Shakespeare, William. Twelfth Night. Act IV, scene II, lines 5-6.
  10. ^ Keller, Stefan Daniel (2004). The Development of Shakespeare's Rhetoric. Tübingen: Francke. p. 72. ISBN 3772083242.
  11. ^ Sparknotes. Retrieved 09 June, 2018.
  12. ^ Kennedy, 2006. p. 123
  13. ^ Sparks, Jared (1840). The Works of Benjamin Franklin, with Notes and a Life of the Author by J. Sparks. Oxford University. p. 408.
  14. ^ Graydon, Alexander (1811). Memoirs of a Life, Chiefly Passed in Pennsylvania. John Wyeth. p. 116.
  15. ^ Reynolds, Frederic (1811). "Life". In Mrs. Inchbald (ed.). Volume 1: The Will, The Rage, Life, How to Grow Rich, Notoriety. The Modern Theatre: A Collection of Successful Modern Plays. Longmans, Hurst, Rees, Orme, and Brown. p. 176.
  16. ^ Poe, Edgar Allan (June 1846). "The Literati of New York City — No. II". Godey's Lady's Book. 32: 266–272.
  17. ^ Zimmerman, Brett (2005). Edgar Allan Poe: Rhetoric and Style ([Online-Ausg.] ed.). Montreal: McGill-Queen's University Press. pp. 129–130. ISBN 0773528997.
  18. ^ My English Pages. Retrieved 09 June, 2018.
  19. ^ Corbett and Connors, 1999. p.63
  20. ^ Corbett and Connors, 1999. p.63
  21. ^ a b c Zuckermann, Ghil'ad (2020). Revivalistics: From the Genesis of Israeli to Language Reclamation in Australia and Beyond. New York: Oxford University Press. ISBN 9780199812790.


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