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antanaclasis (ant-an-uh-KLAS-is) noun

A play on words in which a key word is repeated in a different, often contrary, sense.

[From Greek antanaklasis (echo or reflection), from anti- (against) + ana- + klasis (breaking or bending).]

Some examples of antanaclasis:

  • Your argument is sound, nothing but sound. -Benjamin Franklin
  • If you aren't fired with enthusiasm, you will be fired with enthusiasm. -Vince Lombardi
  • Learn some craft when young, that when old you may live without craft. -Anonymous

"Other types of puns, apart from antanaclasis, paronomasia and syllepsis, are also frequently used... Antanaclasis; repetition of a word in two different senses; Our frequent fliers can frequent other fliers. (British Airways)"
James H. Leigh; The Use of Figures of Speech in Print Ad Headlines; Journal of Advertising; Jun 1994.

What do you expect when you mess around with a wordy pal? Wordplay, of course! And that's what you are going to get for the next five days. In this week's AWAD, we feature words about words, words that describe play with words.

In case you haven't figured this out yourself by now, 'wordplay' is an anagram of 'wordy pal'. Make your own anagrams.

-Anu Garg


If we don't believe in freedom of expression for people we despise, we don't believe in it at all. -Noam Chomsky, linguistics professor and political activist (1928- )

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