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In rhetoric, antimetabole (/æntɪməˈtæbəl/ AN-ti-mə-TAB-ə-lee) is the repetition of words in successive clauses, but in transposed order; for example, "I know what I like, and I like what I know". It is related to, and sometimes considered a special case of, chiasmus.

An antimetabole can be predictive, because it is easy to reverse the terms. It may trigger deeper reflection than merely stating one half of the line.[1]



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

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Fahnestock, Jeanne (1999). Rhetorical Figures in Science. Oxford University Press. pp. 123–134.
  2. ^ "Mark 2:23-28 NIV". Bible Gateway.
  3. ^ "Malcolm X: Speech excerpt "Ballot or the Bullet"".
  4. ^ Douglass, Frederick (1995). Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass. Mineola, New York: Dover Publications, Inc. p. 13. ISBN 0-486-28499-9.
  5. ^ Shakespeare, William. Macbeth. Act I, Scene 1, 12.
  6. ^ "Inauguration Speech". The New York Times. US Capitol. January 20, 2021.
  7. ^ Wilde, Oscar (2000). The Picture of Dorian Gray. London: Penguin Classics. p. 203.
  • Corbett, Edward P.J. Classical Rhetoric for the Modern Student. Oxford University Press, New York, 1971.

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