A question from Ask Figaro:
Working hard or hardly working. Or, One trains minds, the other minds trains. What figure of speech are these examples of?
It’s one of Figaro’s faves, the antistasis. It repeats a word while changing its meaning. The antistasis (an-TIS-ta-sis) works especially well if you give it a chiasmus spin, making one clause mirror another. The Bard himself liked the device: “I wasted time and now time doth waste me.”
Or, as one of Figaro’s student friends would say, “I wasted time and then got wasted.”