Epizeuxis: Definition and Examples

Epizeuxis (derives from Greek word epizeugnumi literally means “fastening together”), is an emphatic repetition of the same word or phrase twice or more consecutively with no intervening words in-between.

Thus, as the figure was depicted in Macbeth Opens in new window:

“O horror, horror, horror”

King Lear Opens in new window:

“How! How! How! How!”.

Epizeuxis can be ambigous, sometimes it may be primarily used to show intense emotion, and at other time it may be a mere mumbling of words. The actor playing King Lear can either scream the words ‘Never, never, never, never, never!’ or mumble them. He can’t do much in between. Repetition can mean … repetition, repetition, repetition on and on and on for ever and ever.

Notable Examples of Epizeuxis

  1. “I, along with millions – scores of millions – of Americans, will pray, pray, pray for the safety of our troops.”

    — (Robert C. Byrd, The Arrogance of Power)

  2. Reputation, reputation, reputation! Oh, I have lost my reputation! I have lost the immortal part of myself, and what remains is bestial. My reputation, Iago, my reputation!”

    — (Othello.2, 3.)

  1. “Like the Draconian laws, this bill had blood! Blood!felony! Felony! In every peiod and in every sentence.”

    — (Grattan, Speech in the Irish Parliament [1787])

  2. Simplicity, simplicity, simplicity! I say, let your affairs be as two or three, and not a hundred or a thousand; instead of a million, count half a dozen, and keep your accounts on your thumb-nail.”

    — (Thoreau, Walden (1854)).

  3. “We were told – told emphatically and abundantly – that the method of their going would be a masterpiece of tactical skill. Tactics! Tactics! Ladies and gentlemen, the country is tired of their tactics.”

    — (Campbell-Bannerman, Speech at London (1905))

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  • References
    • The Elements of Eloquence: How to Turn the Perfect English Phrase | Mark Forsyth.
    • Dictionary of Rhetorical Terms | Gregory T. Howard

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