Definitions

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. The technique of reversal, where accentuated by reversal of words, actions or grammatical structure.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A figure in which the same words or ideas are repeated in transposed order.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. In rhetoric, a figure in which the same words or ideas are repeated in inverse order.

Etymologies

From Ancient Greek ἀντιμεταβολή. (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • The classical rhetorician called that antimetabole, though modern speech writers tend to refer to it as the reversible raincoat.

    Analyzing The Text Of Obama's Inaugural Address

  • This anxiety produces an exchange between Edward and his uncle Richard that shows the youngster's verbal dexterity in the rhetorical figure of antimetabole, or the symmetrical repetition of words in inverted order:

    Shakespeare

  • How many even know the meaning of anaphora, antimetabole or litotes?

    The Chicago Blog

  • Here, courtesy of Slate, are instances of antimetabole in this election season:

    Virginia Hughes

  • Slate points out that throughout this long presidential campaign season, both parties have taken advantage of the same rhetorical trick: antimetabole, or repeating words in a reverse order.

    Virginia Hughes

Comments

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  • JM consults his timetable to determine the antimetabole.

    December 17, 2010

  • a.k.a. the reversible raincoat.

    January 25, 2009

  • Woo, wordies are ahead of the ball.

    September 6, 2008

  • Often confused with chiasmus, this is the correct term for the rhetorical trick of reversing two words in two clauses of a sentence for a clever bit of wordplay. For instance,


    We must master our fear, or fear will be our master


    President George W. Bush's speechwriters seem especially fond of this technique, almost to the point of caricature.

    September 3, 2008