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A.Word.A.Daywith Anu Garg
noun: Describing the whole of something by specifying its two extremes, such as contrasting or complementary parts.
From Greek merismos (division), from merizein (to divide). Earliest documented use: 1589.
Merismus is also known as merism. When someone says you have to accept the good as well as the bad, they are saying that you have to accept the whole.
When someone says “head to toe” it’s obvious that it includes everything in between, but in merismus you could just say head and toe to mean the same. Just specifying the extremes implies the whole. If you search high and low, it means you searched the whole: high, low, and in between. Two related terms are synecdoche and metonymy.
“Anderson argues that the terms ‘good and evil’ may be a merismus which refers to all of the law.”
Virginia Miller; A King and a Fool?; Brill; 2019.
A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:Civilizations in decline are consistently characterised by a tendency towards standardization and uniformity. -Arnold Toynbee, historian (14 Apr 1889-1975)
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