Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun Inversion of the normal syntactic order of words; for example,

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun In rhetoric and grammar, an inversion of the usual order of words: as, “echoed the hills” for “the hills echoed.”

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

  • noun (Rhet. & Gram.) An inversion of the natural order of words.

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

  • noun rhetoric Unusual word order, often involving an inversion of the usual pattern of the sentence.

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

  • noun the reversal of the normal order of words

Etymologies

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

[Late Latin anastrophē, from Greek, from anastrephein, to turn upside-down : ana-, ana- + strephein, to turn; see streb(h)- in Indo-European roots.]

Examples

  • One discovers numerous examples in which De Luca uses such rhetorical devices as anadiplosis or the repetition of a word at the end of a clause or at the beginning of another; anaphora or the repetition of the same word or group of words at the beginning of successive clauses; or anastrophe which is the inversion of the usual word order within a sentence.

    Mark Axelrod: The Day Before Happiness

  • It is hard to judge a cliche so far away in time, but ‘racing lambs’ strikes one as a non-description, and with ‘fair their fling’ you wonder if anastrophe is just a trick he kept attempting, like dice.

    Spring « Unknowing

  • One discovers numerous examples in which De Luca uses such rhetorical devices as anadiplosis or the repetition of a word at the end of a clause or at the beginning of another; anaphora or the repetition of the same word or group of words at the beginning of successive clauses; or anastrophe which is the inversion of the usual word order within a sentence.

    Mark Axelrod: The Day Before Happiness

  • Into the valley of anastrophe rode the six hundred.

    VERTKRIEG

  • The intervening clause, kata ` te ` n prote'ran anastrophe ` n, concerning the former conversation, belongs to the verb and not to the following noun.

    A Commentary on the Epistle to the Ephesians

  • Other details of Time's style, including strung-out attributive adjectives (bahuvrihi, to linguists), puns (paronomasia), and inverted word order (anastrophe) are also described in the Introduction, which one could only wish were more detailed.

    VERBATIM: The Language Quarterly Vol XX No 1

  • In Byron's Don Juan occurs an exemplary anastrophe: "All, when life is new,/Commence with feelings warm, and prospects high ..."

    VERBATIM: The Language Quarterly Vol XII No 1

  • Sorensen and Kennedy developed the “Ask not” anastrophe from similar statements made by JFK during the campaign, which in turn borrowed from Kennedy’s study of the history of political rhetoric.

    TEAR DOWN THIS WALL

  • The decision of Government to send reinforcements to Ireland was mentioned as a prelude to the information from Vienna of the birth of a son to the Princess Nikolas: and then; having conjoined the two entirely heterogeneous pieces of intelligence, the composer adroitly interfused them by a careless transposition of the prelude and the burden that enabled him to play ad libitum on regrets and rejoicings; by which device the lord of Earlsfont might be offered condolences while the lady could express her strong contentment, inasmuch as he deplored the state of affairs in the sister island, and she was glad of a crisis concluding a term of suspense thus the foreign-born baby was denounced and welcomed, the circumstances lamented and the mother congratulated, in a breath, all under cover of the happiest misunderstanding, as effective as the cabalism of Prospero's wand among the Neapolitan mariners, by the skilful Irish development on a grand scale of the rhetorical figure anastrophe, or a turning about and about.

    Complete Project Gutenberg Works of George Meredith

  • Earlsfont might be offered condolences while the lady could express her strong contentment, inasmuch as he deplored the state of affairs in the sister island, and she was glad of a crisis concluding a term of suspense thus the foreign-born baby was denounced and welcomed, the circumstances lamented and the mother congratulated, in a breath, all under cover of the happiest misunderstanding, as effective as the cabalism of Prospero's wand among the Neapolitan mariners, by the skilful Irish development on a grand scale of the rhetorical figure anastrophe, or a turning about and about.

    Celt and Saxon — Complete

Comments

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  • Useful this can be sometimes.

    December 17, 2007

  • Another example, typically from a Protestant hymn based on Psalm 23. Except for the first line, nothing in this stanza is stated in the normal word order:

    The Lord's my shepherd; I'll not want.

    He makes me down to lie;

    In pastures green he leadeth me

    The quiet waters by.

    December 27, 2007