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    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?

    Dear R,

    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.”


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    Reader Comments (12)

    Remember Charlie the Tuna? "Sorry, Charlie. StarKist wants tuna that tastes good, not tuna with good taste."
    August 6, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterDarby
    Benjamin Franklin loved this figure, though he didn't chiasmusize it (or whatever you call it).

    "We must, indeed, all hang together or, most assuredly, we shall all hang separately."

    "When you're finished changing, you're finished."
    August 6, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterWorder
    Antistasis is a medical term. I believe it means using opposing forces, such as the act of squeezing.
    August 6, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterWorder
    Indeed, you'll find that medicine stole much of its terminology from figures. See this piece that Figaro wrote: http://www.middlebury.edu/administration/middmag/archive/2007/spring_2007/features/rhetoric/
    August 6, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterFigaro
    It's also a German band: bad industrial music.
    August 6, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterStoo Paht
    There is just no end to the erudition of las Figaristas.

    August 6, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterFigaro
    I used to have a sign next to the clock in my classroom. It said: "TIME IS PASSING, ARE YOU?" I guess you would call it "implied antistasis." That's not what my student called it though.
    August 6, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterBrian Backman
    The brighter ones might point to themselves and sigh, "This too shall pass."
    August 7, 2007 | Registered CommenterFigaro
    Time flies like an arrow; fruit flies like a banana. --Groucho Marx
    August 10, 2007 | Unregistered Commenterjmack
    I found this in a recent book review at Touchstone:

    “Cattily, the poet Martial wrote that women would arrive in the region as a Penelope, the famously chaste wife of Odysseus, and leave a Helen, the much chased wife of Menelaus.”

    August 10, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterJeff
    That must have been a laff riot in Greek.
    August 10, 2007 | Registered CommenterFigaro
    In college we use to say,"You don't get more wasted, you just waste more."
    September 4, 2007 | Unregistered Commenterstevo

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