An Introduction to Diacope

Diacope (derives from Greek diakopto, literally means “cutting into two” or “cut through”), is the figure of repetition by which a word or phraseOpens in new window is repeated after a brief interruption by an intervening word or phrase. In other words, it is a repetition of a word or phrase, but with other words in between.

A notable example for better understanding will be the name of the famous Nigerian actor “Kanayo O. Kanayo” (in my opinion Hon. Kanayo O. Kanayo did borrow his superordinate name from the Diacope).

Diacope comes in a variety of forms; the simplest will be the vocative diacope as in:

  • Live, baby, live.”
  • Yeah, baby, yeah.”
  • “I am dying, Egypt, dying.”
  • Game over, man, game over.”

Typical Examples — It's quite easy to form a diacopic phrase; all you need do is chuck in somebody’s name or their title and repeat. The effect, obviously, is to add vigor and a bit of emphasis, and a certain finality, on the second word. Below are examples and various form of creating diacope in a spoken or written piece.

Elaboration With Adjective or other parts of speech:
  •  From sea to shining sea ↔ (shining as adjective)
  • Sunday bloody sunday ↔ (bloody as adjective)
  • O Captain! My Captain! ↔ (my as adjective)
  • They will laugh indeed they will laugh ↔ (indeed as adverb)
Extended Diacope:
  • “I knew it. Born in a hotel room—and goddamn it—died in a hotel room.”
    — last words of playwright Eugene O'Neill
  • A horse! a horse! my kingdom for a horse!”
    Richard III
  • “O villain, villain, smiling, damned villain
    Williams Shakespeare, Hamlet
  • Free at last. Free at last. Thank God almighty we are free at last
    Martin Luther King's epitaph
  • Love me. Love me, say that you love me