Archive for August 13th, 2014

August 13, 2014


sex drugs and rock and roll by Berto Herrera

Hendiatris [hen-die-uh-tris] (from the Greek: ‘one through three’) is a figure of speech used for emphasis, in which three words are used to express one idea (e.g. ‘sex, drugs and rock and roll’ to capture the life of a rock star). It is an isocolon, a sentence composed of two or more parts (cola) perfectly equivalent in structure, length and rhythm (called a bicolon, tricolon, or tetracolon depending on whether they are two, three, or four parts).

A well-known example of tricolon is Julius Caesar’s ‘Veni, vidi, vici’ (‘I came; I saw; I conquered’), which is also a hendiatris and known in English as a ‘tripartite motto.’ If the units involved are not single words, and if they are not in any way synonyms but rather circumnavigate the one idea expressed, the figure may be described more correctly, precisely, and succinctly as a ‘triad.’

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