Antisthecon

An Introduction to Antisthecon

Antisthecon (derives from Greek ‘anti-’, “against” and ‘stoicheon’, meaning “letter in distortion” or “standing opposite in pairs”; also in Latin, coined ‘littera pro littera’ meaning “letter for letter”, and sometimes called antistoecon.), is a kind of metaplasmOpens in new window which consists in the substitution of a letter or sound for another, within a word. It may be done deliberately or inadvertently, and sometimes for personal choice. Usually this device is employed when someone chooses to spell a word in the same tone it is pronounced.

The device produces archaismsOpens in new window, for instance, ‘mote’ for “may” as registered in Edmund SpenserOpens in new window’s “The Faerie QueeneOpens in new window,” canto 3.258), and likewise a tool for achieving punOpens in new window or word play, for instance when, to Claudius’s suggestion, Shakespeare’s Hamlet retorts that he is “too much in the sun,” where he meant “son” (1.2.67). In this vein, Richard SherryOpens in new window in “Treatise of SchemesOpens in new window, 1550”, also subsumes permutations of letters (‘chambre’ for “chamber”).
— (Thomas O. Sloane, Encyclopaedia of Rhetoric, Volume 1.)

Further Readings:
Thomas O. Sloane | Encyclopedia of Rhetoric, Volume 1: AntistheconOpens in new window
Gregory T. Howard | Dictionary of Rhetorical Terms | AntistheconOpens in new window