Epitrochasmus

An Introduction to Epitrochasmus.

Epitrochasmus (derives from Greek word epitrochazein literally means “to run briefly over”), is a brief movement from one concise statement to another. This involves a brief enumeration of points, subjects or events, each of which would otherwise be given a thorough presentation, but are rather mentioned briefly.

A typical example of Epitrochasmus can be found in Heb. 11:32, as:

  • “And what more shall I say? I do not have time to tell about Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David, Samuel and the prophets, etc.”

Epitrochasmus is considered as a figure of omission; thus, it is similar to the figure ‘AsyndetonOpens in new window’; in that the conjunction “and” is omitted for the sake of running quickly through the enumeration. It also shares similarity with the figure ‘BrachylogiaOpens in new window’ in its ability to summarize; putting senses into concision in order to increase the pace of the narrative.

To a certain extent, this figure also shares semblance with figures involving addition, in that it amplifies the sense with diverse words. Thus, while there is an actual addition of words, that very addition is added with the intent of avoiding a longer statement.

A Notable Example
  • Object there was none. Passion there was none. I loved the old man. He had ne wronged me. He had never given me insult. For his gold I had no desire. I think it was his eye! … Now this is the point. You fancy me mad. Madmen know nothing. But you should have seen me.
  • — (“The Tell-Tale Heart,” 5:88)
Further Readings:
Silva Rhetoricae, Figures | Epitrochasmus Opens in new window
Brett Zimmerman, Edgar Allan Poe: Rhetoric and Style | Epitrochasmus Opens in new window
Bullinger, E. W., Figures of Speech Used in the Bible | Epitrochasmus Opens in new window