What is a Ploce?

Ploce is a form of speech which consists in the repetition of the same word to signify in one place the subject (person or thing), and in the other the attribute of the person or thing, such as morals, or general qualities.

The Ploce, (which some called Ploche) is etymologically derived from the Greek “plekein,” in literal sense meaning “to plait.”

Ploce can be exemplified with the expression,

  • “Cicero continued Cicero unto the day of his deat.”

Here, CiceroOpens in new window, is repeated to signify both Cicero as a person, and his philosophies or qualities. (Peacham). In the same vein, an erudite scholar was using this trope to signify some pretenders and their characteristics — “more Irish than the Irish.”

Other Examples include:
  • “Ahab will ever be Ahab.” [that is, will ever be wicked.]
    Another example will suffice in the expression:
  • “What Man is there living, but will pity such a case, if he be a Man?”
  • [Here, the repeatead word “Man,” signifies humanity or compassion, both qualities are attributable to Man’s nature.]
Further Readings:
Theresa Enos, Encyclopedia of Rhetoric and Composition: Communication from Ancient Times to the Modern Age | PloceOpens in new window
John Shaw, A Methodical English Grammar: Containing Rules and Directions for Speaking [...] | PloceOpens in new window