Definitions

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

  • n. The repetition of conjunctions in close succession for rhetorical effect, as in the phrase here and there and everywhere.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. The use of many conjunctions to achieve an overwhelming effect in a sentence.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A figure by which the conjunction is often repeated, as in the sentence, “We have ships and men and money and stores.” Opposed to asyndeton.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. In rhetoric, a figure consisting in the use of a number of conjunctions in close succession; introduction of all the members of a series of coördinate words or clauses with conjunctions: opposed to asyndeton.

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

  • n. using several conjunctions in close succession, especially where some might be omitted (as in `he ran and jumped and laughed for joy')

Etymologies

Late Greek polusundeton, from neuter of polusundetos, using many connectives : Greek polu-, poly- + Greek sundetos, bound together; see syndetic.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)

Examples

  • Then follows, introduced by a kind of polysyndeton (wekhi --

    Exposition of Genesis: Volume 1

  • He explains, for instance, polysyndeton : It is the repeated use of a conjunction, as in Mark Twain ' s a German daily is the slowest and saddest and dreariest of the inventions of man.

    The Syntax of Style

  • I'm fond of the polysyndeton, myself. trillwing commented at 4:24 PM~

    Ferule & Fescue

  • They are great figures of speech as worthy as simile, metaphor, ellipsis, alliteration, polysyndeton, syndoche of part or whole and a hundred others that we use every day.

    Conversing With the Right

  • Furthermore, I have documented proof that several have openly advocated polysyndeton!

    VERBATIM: The Language Quarterly Vol X No 1

  • (Teachers College Press, 1975), which is not familiar to me, has provided not only a study that is revealing but a readable introduction for any who are interested in how style can be analyzed: I have not seen such a clear exposition of polysyndeton, asyndeton, and other rhetorical devices since reading Barr's Introduction to my textbook copy of The Orations of Cicero (where all the examples are, of course, in Latin).

    VERBATIM: The Language Quarterly Vol IV No 4

  • 229 James is not yet able to create distinctive voices for her characters, and she chooses not to emulate CB's complex manipulations of parallelism, polysyndeton, and so on.

    The Little Professor:

  • Times’s review of critic James Wood’s How Fiction Works and ran across this term, a rhetorical term, I suppose: Biblical polysyndeton, “a series of conjunctions, making for torrential sentences.”

    Let’s Get Biblical « Exile on Ninth Street

Comments

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  • qroqqa, the beginning of your first sentence ("I was cruising for Julie Myerson, as one does...") is somehow brilliant.

    March 12, 2009

  • I always think "tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow".

    March 12, 2009

  • Polysyndeton in Julie Myerson's "Sad-Grand Moment"

    I was cruising for Julie Myerson, as one does, when I noticed this, and did a double-take when I realized that what I'd first read as 'asyndeton', a device I approve of, was in fact an entirely new word to me. And Julie does everything well, so she does polysyndeton well too.

    March 8, 2009

  • Reminds me of Vonnegut.

    October 23, 2007

  • "Polysyndeton is the use of several conjunctions in close succession, especially where some might be omitted (as in "he ran and jumped and laughed for joy"). It is a stylistic scheme used to slow the rhythm of prose and can add an air of solemnity to a passage."

    - Wikipedia

    September 29, 2007