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Merismos

 

Techniques > Use of language > Figures of speech > Merismos

Method | Example | Discussion | See also

 

Description

Merismos is where something is described or referenced in its entirety.

Example

Past, present and future.

I am everyone I have ever been. I am a little boy, lost on the beach. I am a confused teenager, raging at the world. I am an adult, trudging my path.

I want to thank everyone who helped with this production, including the door staff, the make-up artists, the costumiers, the lighting engineer, ...

Discussion

By taking time to describe something in more detail than might normally be expected, merismos acts as a form of emphasis, indicating importance and asking the audience to reflect on the subject.

Polar merismos occurs where a full description is shortened by describing only boundary or start and end states. Sometimes this is written by describing the end state before the start. For example, 'man and boy', 'omega and alpha', 'now and again'.

Merismos comes from the Greek word meaning 'division'.

Merismos is also called 'Distributio', 'Digestio' or 'Discriminatio'.

Classification: Meaning

See also

Diallage

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