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

  • n. A figure of speech, such as anastrophe or hysteron proteron, using deviation from normal or logical word order to produce an effect.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. An inversion of the usual or logical order of words or phrases, for emphasis or poetic effect.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A figurative construction, changing or inverting the natural order of words or clauses.”

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. In gram, and rhetoric: A figure consisting in departure from the customary order by placing a word or phrase in an unusual position in a sentence; transposition or inversion, especially of a bold or violent sort.
  • n. An instance or example of such transposition.

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

  • n. reversal of normal word order (as in `cheese I love')


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

Greek huperbaton, from neuter of huperbatos, transposed, from huperbainein, to step over : huper-, over, across; see hyper- + bainein, to step; see gwā- in Indo-European roots.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Latin hyperbaton, from Greek ὑπερβατον ‘overstepping’, from ὑπερβαινειν, from ὑπερ- + βαίνειν ‘walk’.


  • Markovits shows no sign of emulating Polidori's conventionally Romantic-era stylistic tics, such as hyperbaton, the rolling compound sentences, the lengthy parentheses, or the presence of both dramatic and grammatical punctuation.

    The Little Professor:

  • Boccaccio, especially in the conversational parts of the Decameron, in which he makes the freest use of the various forms of enallage and of other rhetorical figures, such as hyperbaton, synecdoche, etc., to the no small detriment of his style in the matter of clearness.] [Footnote 167: _i. e._ nine o'clock p.m.]

    The Decameron of Giovanni Boccaccio

  • So therefore, in such passages, the hyperbaton must be exhibited by the reading, and the apostle's meaning following on, preserved; and thus we do not read in that passage, "the god of this world," but, "God," whom we do truly call God; and we hear [it declared of] the unbelieving and the blinded of this world, that they shall not inherit the world of life which is to come.

    ANF01. The Apostolic Fathers with Justin Martyr and Irenaeus

  • It seems to be a mere normalization of the hyperbaton; the elimination of the elision (_mittere ad_) may have been a factor as well.

    The Last Poems of Ovid

  • In none of these passages is _ut_ separated from _si_: the hyperbaton elevates the phrase and makes more natural its use in verse.

    The Last Poems of Ovid

  • = The hyperbaton adds elevation and dignity to the prayer.

    The Last Poems of Ovid

  • = Note the separation of the epithets from the nouns, and the high level of diction produced by the hyperbaton.

    The Last Poems of Ovid

  • _Vne_ was liable to corruption because of the hyperbaton with _Rufe_ in the next line, and because of the rarity of the vocative of _unus_.

    The Last Poems of Ovid

  • = Similar instances of hyperbaton at 28 'quod fecit quisque tuetur opus', _Met_ IV 803 'pectore in aduerso quos fecit sustinet angues', and _Fast_ VI 20 'tum dea quos fecit sustulit ipsa metus'.

    The Last Poems of Ovid

  • _C_'s MARIVS SCRIPTOR and _B_'s SCRIPTOR MARIVS were no doubt induced by the hyperbaton of _scripti ... genus_.

    The Last Poems of Ovid


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  • If grace notes you'd have conferred upon

    The featureless drone of your wordathon,

    Keep reader alert!

    Your language invert

    By liberal use of hyperbaton

    February 9, 2017

  • JM with his hyperbaton wielded.

    April 6, 2011

  • In a word, yodaspeak.

    September 23, 2009

  • Common form of poetic license where normal word order in a sentence is altered significantly, sometimes to preserve the metrical and rhyming structure of a poetic work, or to emphasize particularly important words. Milton's Paradise Lost provides some spectacular examples in English.

    One wonders if early writers in English who employed such inversions were influenced by their knowledge of Latin grammar and syntax, where meaning is more determined by the inflection of nouns, verbs, objects and adjectives rather than by word order. English, being a relatively uninflected language requires a higher degree of word order to convey and preserve meaning.

    September 23, 2009

  • This category includes anastrophe, hysteron proteron, chiasmus, and tmesis.

    July 23, 2008