from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun In medicine: Recovery of strength after disease.
  • noun A kind of sympathetic epilepsy from gastric disturbance. Also called analepsia and analepsy.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • Recovery of strength after sickness.
  • A species of epileptic attack, originating from gastric disorder.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun A form of flashback in which earlier parts of a narrative are related to others that have already been narrated
  • noun medicine Recovery of strength after sickness.
  • noun medicine A kind of epileptic attack, originating from gastric disorder.


Sorry, no etymologies found.



New comments are temporarily disabled while we update our database.

  • In history, film, television and other media, a flashback (also called analepsis) is an interjected scene that takes the narrative back in time from the current point the story has reached. Flashbacks are often used to recount events that happened prior to the story’s primary sequence of events or to fill in crucial backstory. In the opposite direction, a flashforward (or prolepsis) reveals events that will occur in the future. The technique is used to create suspense in a story, or develop a character. In literature, internal analepsis is a flashback to an earlier point in the narrative; external analepsis is a flashback to before the narrative started.

    May 28, 2009

  • I'm sorry, but I can't imagine a bunch of sitcom writers sitting around a table and saying things like, "Maybe we need to stick an analepsis in here. And then here we'll do a prolepsis and show them in a retirement home." These words are good for rhetoricians and literary theoreticians, and they are lovely words, but this parenthetical "(also called…)" leaves open the important question, "By whom?"

    May 28, 2009

  • By whom? Not by the OED, who don't know this word at all, nor the related words (analepsy, analemma, analeptic) in this sense. Nor by my preferred glossary of rhetoric. Nor indeed to the Ancient Greeks themselves, who used it in various ways derived from the semantic elements "take + back": such as tying up vines, acquiring knowledge, assimilating food, making amends, getting refreshed; about the closest is Aristotle's use of it for recovering memory. Possibly a recent development based on that. (Modern film and literaary theory wouldn't have made it in the OED's A's yet.)

    Or perhaps just formed analogously with prolepsis, prochronism, anachronism.

    May 28, 2009

  • I think it sounds like a pregnancy complication.

    May 28, 2009

  • Yes, cb, and prolepsis even more so. Thanks to you, about 1 in 5 words now sound to me like pregnancy-related medical conditions.

    May 29, 2009

  • Well, me too. I wonder if it's because a lot of medical conditions come from... is it Greek? ... and so do a lot of rhetoric/logic words. You know, like gymnasium (which apparently means "naked playground," or something like that. Who knew?).

    May 29, 2009

  • *hears Greek mentioned*

    The root γ�?μνος (gymnos) means naked or unclad. From such, the verb γυμνάζω (gymnazô), to train naked, or to exercise, as the exercises of the ancient Greeks were generally done in the nude. Hence γυμνάσις (gymnasis), exercise, and γυμνάσιον (gymnasion), a place for exercises, Latinised as gymnasium.

    A friend of mine coined, from various Greek roots, the γυμνασφαλάκμυς (gymnasphalakmys) or naked mole-rat.

    May 29, 2009

  • ... I like it.

    May 29, 2009

  • Aha, here was the other recent one.

    June 3, 2009