Also found in: Thesaurus, Medical, Legal, Encyclopedia, Wikipedia.


Inversion of the normal syntactic order of words; for example, "Matter too soft a lasting mark to bear" (Alexander Pope).

[Late Latin anastrophē, from Greek, from anastrephein, to turn upside-down : ana-, ana- + strephein, to turn; see streb(h)- in Indo-European roots.]


(Rhetoric) rhetoric another term for inversion3
[C16: from Greek, from anastrephein to invert]


(əˈnæs trə fi)

reversal of the usual order of words for rhetorical effect.
[1570–80; < Greek: turning back.]


a rhetorical device in which the usual word order of a phrase or sentence is reversed.
See also: Rhetoric and Rhetorical Devices


Another word for inversion.
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.anastrophe - the reversal of the normal order of words
rhetorical device - a use of language that creates a literary effect (but often without regard for literal significance)
References in periodicals archive ?
First, they were named by the Greeks and have kept the Greek terminology--isocolon, anastrophe, polysyndeton, etc.
In "Wishing Well," certain rhythmic and syntactic flourishes--the fluctuations between seven and eight syllables, between three and four accents per line, and the anastrophe of "whether such a small as this / sacrifice is worth one wish"-endowed with fluency a structure that had no correlative in its essentially static scene.
The intentional inversion of the normal word order in this line results in the skillful anastrophe that artistically reflects the complicacy and intricacy of the long adverbial "When.