An Introduction to Adynaton

Adynaton is a kind of hyperboleOpens in new window that insinuates impossibility of what is stated as a result of extreme exaggeration beyond the bounds of truth used in its expression.

Example of Adynaton
  • “Beautiful things muddled together into an ugly mess! Love is heavy and light, bright and dark, hot and cold, sick and healthy, asleep and awake—it’s everything except what it is!”
  • — Shakespearean Romeo and Juliet, Romeo 1,1 pg9
More Examples of Adynaton
  • “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.”
  • — (The Holy Bible, Mathew 19:24)
  • “I will sooner have a beard grow in the palm of my hand than he shall get one of his cheek.”
  • — (Shakespearean, 2 Henry IV 1,2 pg20-22)
  • “One can expect an agreement between philosophers sooner than between clocks.”
  • — (Seneca, The Pumpkinification of Claudius)

Adynaton or adynata (plural) can be interesting especially when used by writers and/or speakers to infer certain arguments. Nevertheless, such arguments or claims are highly fallacious and unrealistic.

Further Readings:
Silva Rhetoricae, Figures | AdynatonOpens in new window