from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun In rhetoric, a figure consisting in the use of different cases or inflections of the same word, or of words of the same immediate derivation, in the same context.
  • noun (Unless the death of Death had brought death to death by [his] death, the door of eternal life would have been closed.)

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

  • noun (Rhet.) A figure by which a word is repeated in different forms, cases, numbers, genders, etc., as in Tennyson's line, -- “My own heart's heart, and ownest own, farewell.”

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

  • noun rhetoric A stylistic scheme in which words from the same root are used together, or a word is repeated in a different inflection or case.

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

  • noun repetition of a word in a different case or inflection in the same sentence


from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Via Latin, from Ancient Greek πολύπτωτον (poluptōton), neuter of πολύπτωτος (poluptōtos, "having many cases"), from πολύς (polus, "many") + πίπτω (piptō, "I fall").


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  • I'm sitting here trying to decide whether a particular specimen of paronomasia is to be considered polyptoton or antanaclasis.

    I love the classical roots of education, but...

  • I'm sitting here trying to decide whether a particular specimen of paronomasia is to be considered polyptoton or antanaclasis.

    Archive 2008-02-01

  • That was polyptoton, or using a word in two different ways, as in FDR's, nothing to fear but fear itself.

    Analyzing The Text Of Obama's Inaugural Address

  • = For an extreme instance of Ovid's favourite figure of _polyptoton_ (Quintilian IX 3 36-37), see the account at _Met_ IX

    The Last Poems of Ovid

  • = For Ovid's use of polyptoton, see at viii 67 _uatis ... uates_ (p 278).

    The Last Poems of Ovid

  • _penna_ vs. _pinna_, 28, 203 pentameter endings trisyllabic, 294 quadrisyllabic, 164-166 pentasyllabic, 181-182 perfect subjunctive vs. future perfect indicative forms, 215 polyptoton, Ovid's use of, 278, 378

    The Last Poems of Ovid

  • Other instances of polyptoton with _uates_ at _Fast_ I 25 (to Germanicus) 'si licet et fas est, _uates_ rege _uatis_ habenas' and _EP_ II ix 65 (to

    The Last Poems of Ovid


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  • Polyptoton is most fun when the same (or related) word is used in different parts of speech. Here, for instance, the word "text" is used as a verb, an adjective, and a noun. "Someone texted me a text message with almost no text."

    Then there is the strange case of buffalo.

    December 2, 2007

  • Arguable. Text message is a noun stack as in traditional terms the adjective would be textual. But I'm not complaining. I like noun stacks :-)

    December 2, 2007

  • You can call "text message" a noun stack if you like – the term is new to me – but even if it is, the word "text" here is being used adjectivally, as nouns often are used in English: writing desk, kitchen utensil, computer jargon, and so on. That's part of the genius of English: to be able to turn words that are originally one part of speech into another part of speech. Verbs can even become nouns: e.g. "That book is a good read," "You go and have yourself a nice cry," and so on.

    December 2, 2007

  • If you say that text is being used adjectivally you are describing its function. The functional definition in this case is modifier. From the functional POV we have a noun phrase of the Modifier-Head format where text is a noun functioning as modifier and message is a noun functioning as head. Lots of items may fill the modifier slot as you point out.

    December 2, 2007

  • I think Rolig means noun phrase. I would tend to agree with Bilby, and for this purpose, and Ockham's razor, it makes sense to consider text to be an adjective.

    December 3, 2007

  • True, rhetoric and its devices

    The mischievous in me entices,

    But having now tripped upon

    That devil polyptoton

    I deem them all devious vices.

    September 4, 2016