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]



  • 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.[4]
  • 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".[8][9]
  • 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).[10][11]
  • Shall this his mock mock out of their dear husbands, Mock mothers from their sons, mock castles down — from Henry V, King Henry utters four times the word mock to express two different meanings of 'mock' - one is 'to cheat' another is 'to taunt'.[12][13]



Responding to questionsEdit

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; hí 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".[19]: 88  Note the ambiguity of the Israeli lexical item גמור gamúr: it means both "complete" and "finished".[19]: 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.[19]: 88 

Latin literatureEdit

  • 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 alsoEdit


  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. ^ a b Corbett and Connors, 1999. p.62-63
  4. ^ a b c My English Pages. Retrieved 09 June, 2018.
  5. ^ a b c Corbett and Connors, 1999. p.63
  6. ^ Pratchett, Terry (1991). Witches Abroad. London: Victor Gollancz Ltd. ISBN 0-575-04980-4.
  7. ^ Noegel, Scott (2013). Khan, Geoffrey (ed.). Encyclopedia of Hebrew Language and Linguistics. Polysemy: Brill. ISBN 978-9004176423.
  8. ^ Shakespeare, William. Twelfth Night. Act IV, scene II, lines 5-6.
  9. ^ Keller, Stefan Daniel (2004). The Development of Shakespeare's Rhetoric. Tübingen: Francke. p. 72. ISBN 3772083242.
  10. ^ Sparknotes. Retrieved 09 June, 2018.
  11. ^ Kennedy, 2006. p. 123
  12. ^ Shakespeare, William (2005-07-21). King Henry V. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0-521-84792-6.
  13. ^ "Antanaclasis - Definition and Examples of Antanaclasis". Literary Devices. 2014-05-05. Retrieved 2021-04-04.
  14. ^ Sparks, Jared (1840). The Works of Benjamin Franklin, with Notes and a Life of the Author by J. Sparks. Oxford University. p. 408.
  15. ^ Graydon, Alexander (1811). Memoirs of a Life, Chiefly Passed in Pennsylvania. John Wyeth. p. 116.
  16. ^ 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.
  17. ^ Poe, Edgar Allan (June 1846). "The Literati of New York City — No. II". Godey's Lady's Book. 32: 266–272.
  18. ^ Zimmerman, Brett (2005). Edgar Allan Poe: Rhetoric and Style ([Online-Ausg.] ed.). Montreal: McGill-Queen's University Press. pp. 129–130. ISBN 0773528997.
  19. ^ 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.


External linksEdit