Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A figure of speech in which two words connected by a conjunction are used to express a single notion that would normally be expressed by an adjective and a substantive, such as grace and favor instead of gracious favor.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. a figure of speech used for emphasis, where two words joined by and are used to express a single complex idea.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A figure in which the idea is expressed by two nouns connected by and, instead of by a noun and limiting adjective.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. In rhet, a figure which consists in using two words connected by a copulative conjunction to express a single complex idea; especially, substitution of two substantives so coördinated for a substantive with its attributive adjective or limiting genitive.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. use of two conjoined nouns instead of a noun and modifier

Etymologies

Late Latin, from Greek hen dia duoin, one by means of two : hen, neuter of heis, one; see sem-1 in Indo-European roots + dia, through + duoin, genitive of duo, two; see dwo- in Indo-European roots.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Medieval Latin, from Ancient Greek ἑv (hen), stem of ἑις (heis, "one") + διά (dia, "through") + δυοίν (dyoin, "two") (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • The reflexive line that impugns the "sceptre bearing line" (l. 268) of violence transforms its word for sword, by phonetic anagram, and across the grammar of hendiadys, when the effect of conquest is said to "spread the plague of blood and gold."

    Phonemanography: Romantic to Victorian

  • The rhetorical point of interest is that that's hendiadys.

    "When a family is burning to death in front of your eyes, rules should go out of the window – especially with kids. Everybody wanted to try and help."

  • Don't tell Mothra Stewart about hendiadys, whatever you do.

    Ferule & Fescue

  • I'd like to claim that I use hendiadys consciously and of course evocatively!

    Ferule & Fescue

  • The process of editing my dissertation has become one long performance of getting rid of unnecessary hendiadys.

    Ferule & Fescue

  • Rare in English speech or other English poetry, hendiadys joins nouns, or sometimes adjectives, in a false or specious union e.g., "sound and fury" for "furious sound".

    Ferule & Fescue

  • In all his plays Shakespeare uses the Vergilian figure hendiadys some three hundred times, most frequently in his middle plays and most of all in Hamlet.

    Ferule & Fescue

  • Fowler calls these and actually just about all the examples in this post--he follows the strict definition of hendiadys "Siamese twins," and is on a warpath against the tautological ones like "betwixt and between."

    Ferule & Fescue

  • Three appendixes list instances of hendiadys in Hamlet, tabulate its incidence in all the plays, and discuss some misleading definitions in the OED.

    Ferule & Fescue

  • Literally "one from two," hendiadys refers to a pair of words linked by "and" that expresses a single meaning neither word alone conveys.

    Ferule & Fescue

Wordnik is becoming a not-for-profit! Read our announcement here.

Comments

Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.

  • "Now we've seen that justice will collapse through abuse of hendiadys."
    The No Variations by Luis Chitarroni, translated by Darren Koolman, p 165

    September 17, 2013

  • an excellent example! Also “good and ready” — I wonder if “hard and fast” counts? “new and improved”?

    March 14, 2008

  • the expression of a single idea by two words, connected by "and" (e.g., "nice and warm!"), when one could be used to modify the other (e.g., "nicely warm!")

    February 25, 2008