Mindy Newton

Antanaclasis

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Vince Lombardi, in what would seem to be a pep talk, is quoted as saying, "If you aren't fired with enthusiasm, you will be fired with enthusiasm."

He was using the figure of speech called an "antanaclasis." I imagine we have all heard, and used antanaclases, we just didn't know they had a name other than: clever phrasing.

It makes one do a mental double-take, and in that way resembles Yogi Berra-isms, and also puns, but there is a definite difference, as the definition shows:

The O.E.D. definition is, "A figure of speech, when the same word is repeated in a different if not a contrary signification; as: "In thy youth learn some craft, that in thy old age thy mayest get thy living without craft." --Johnson.

With puns, the words are in fact different, and in Yogi Berra-isms, it seems that it isn't the signification, but the implication that changes. "You can observe a lot just by watching." "If you can't imitate him, don't copy him." Are they tautologies? Only technically.

I like Lombardi's antanaclasis a lot more than Johnson's. I thought I'd invite people to list some they have come across. Better yet, invent some to share?

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"If the rain keeps up, it won't come down"?

Antanaclasis.... You taught me a new word. :rolleyes:

LOL. That is great, and it is raining cats and dogs as I read it.

You've invented a new category, though, it isn't an antanaclasis. The same word or words have to be used with different "meanings." Maybe yours is an antiantanaclasis? It has a "garden path" in it, like so much of humor.

The garden path...taking the mind in one direction and then stranding it there, with the logical destination somewhere "over there." One of my favorites is this: the old man the boats

I wrote that preceding phrase without punctuation so as to allow the reader to puzzle over it. It is actually a full sentence, right?

Someone here just gave me a different interpretation of your phrase, Laure: that if the rain keeps up, there won't be any moisture left to come down. That makes it a double antiantanaclasis, and, I'm sure the first of its kind. Anybody know the phone number for Guiness?

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"If the rain keeps up, it won't come down"?

Antanaclasis.... You taught me a new word. :rolleyes:

LOL. That is great, and it is raining cats and dogs as I read it.

You've invented a new category, though, it isn't an antanaclasis. The same word or words have to be used with different "meanings." Maybe yours is an antiantanaclasis? It has a "garden path" in it, like so much of humor.

The garden path...taking the mind in one direction and then stranding it there, with the logical destination somewhere "over there." One of my favorites is this: the old man the boats

I wrote that preceding phrase without punctuation so as to allow the reader to puzzle over it. It is actually a full sentence, right?

Someone here just gave me a different interpretation of your phrase, Laure: that if the rain keeps up, there won't be any moisture left to come down. That makes it a double antiantanaclasis, and, I'm sure the first of its kind. Anybody know the phone number for Guiness?

Well, if the rain keeps up, it _won't_ come down.

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Elvis Costello is a singer/songwriter who likes to play with words. In his song Accidents Will Happen, he has these two lines:

Your mind is made up but your mouth is undone

. . . . .

Your mouth is made up but your mind is undone

Which seems to qualify as an antanaclasis, twice over.

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This one is sort of an implied antanaclasis, from Costello's song Two Little Hitlers:

Dial me a Valentine

She's a smooth operator

It's all so calculated

She's got a calculator

She's my soft touch typewriter

And I'm the great dictator

He's using "dictator" as the verb, to dictate. But it's a play on the theme of the song, which is about petty dictators, like Hitler.

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Elvis Costello is a singer/songwriter who likes to play with words. In his song Accidents Will Happen, he has these two lines:
Your mind is made up but your mouth is undone

. . . . .

Your mouth is made up but your mind is undone

Which seems to qualify as an antanaclasis, twice over.

One might alter that to express sadness: Your mouth is made down and your mind is done.

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The same word or words have to be used with different "meanings."

My favorite, and the only one to come to mind immediately, is from American history.

Benjamin Franklin, upon the signing of the Declaration of Independence, and knowing that the document would be viewed by Britain as high treason, said, "We must, indeed, all hang together, or assuredly we shall all hang separately."

To quip at the thought of such dire consequences is breathtaking audacity!

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Vince Lombardi, in what would seem to be a pep talk, is quoted as saying, "If you aren't fired with enthusiasm, you will be fired with enthusiasm."

He was using the figure of speech called an "antanaclasis." I imagine we have all heard, and used antanaclases, we just didn't know they had a name other than: clever phrasing.

It makes one do a mental double-take, and in that way resembles Yogi Berra-isms, and also puns, but there is a definite difference, as the definition shows:

The O.E.D. definition is, "A figure of speech, when the same word is repeated in a different if not a contrary signification; as: "In thy youth learn some craft, that in thy old age thy mayest get thy living without craft." --Johnson.

With puns, the words are in fact different, and in Yogi Berra-isms, it seems that it isn't the signification, but the implication that changes. "You can observe a lot just by watching." "If you can't imitate him, don't copy him." Are they tautologies? Only technically.

I like Lombardi's antanaclasis a lot more than Johnson's. I thought I'd invite people to list some they have come across. Better yet, invent some to share?

Thanks for the new word.

When the going gets tough, the tough get going.

"Time flies like an arrow. Fruit flies like a banana."

"If you don't get it, you don't get it."

"She's not pretty. She's not ugly. She's pretty ugly."

"Sorry, Charlie. StarKist doesn't want tunas with good taste — StarKist wants tunas that taste good."

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