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Related to repetition: rhetorical question


1. The act or process or an instance of repeating or being repeated.
2. A recitation or recital, especially of prepared or memorized material.

[Middle English repeticioun, from Old French repeticion, from Latin repetītiō, repetītiōn-, from repetītus, past participle of repetere, to repeat; see repeat.]

rep′e·ti′tion·al adj.
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.


1. the act or an instance of repeating; reiteration
2. a thing, word, action, etc, that is repeated
3. a replica or copy
4. (Law) civil law Scots law the recovery or repayment of money paid or received by mistake, as when the same bill has been paid twice
Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged, 12th Edition 2014 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2014




(ˌrɛp ɪˈtɪʃ ən)

1. the act of repeating; a repeated action, performance, etc.
2. repeated utterance; reiteration.
3. a reproduction or copy.
[1375–1425; late Middle English (< Old French repeticion) < Latin repetītiō=repetī, variant s. of repetere to repeat + -tiō -tion]
Random House Kernerman Webster's College Dictionary, © 2010 K Dictionaries Ltd. Copyright 2005, 1997, 1991 by Random House, Inc. All rights reserved.




  1. Continue unceasingly like a drip from a leaking faucet —Anon
  2. Iteration, like friction, is likely to generate heat instead of progress —George Eliot
  3. Kept on repeating the words like a talisman —Edith Wharton
  4. Life as repetitive as the seasons —J. B. Priestly
  5. Like warmed-up cabbage served at each repast the repetition kills the wretch at last —Juvenal
  6. Monotonous … like a tap with a worn-out washer dripping … in a kitchen sink —Gerald Kersch

    In Kersh’s novel, Repetition, the dripping faucet image describes a character’s voice.

  7. Recited tirelessly as a language record —Marge Piercy

    In Piercy’s poem, A Cold and Married War, the narrator is reciting her sins and errors.

  8. (Rages … which seemed to) recur in cycles, like menstruation — Ursule Molinaro
  9. (Thought) repeated like a lesson —William H. Gass
  10. Repeated like a rhyme —Amy Lowell
  11. Repeats … like an advertisement in neon —Marge Piercy
  12. Repetitive as hieroglyphs —Derek Walcott
  13. (Disembodied and) repetitive as the sea in a shell —Elizabeth Spencer
  14. [The sweep hand of a clock] went around and around like a door-to-door salesman —Raymond Chandler
Similes Dictionary, 1st Edition. © 1988 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.



hark back To revert, to go back, to retrace one’s steps, to return to an earlier subject; to recall, to revive. This expression was originally used in hunting in reference to hounds who returned along the trail in order to pick up a lost scent. It has been used in its extended, figurative sense since the early 19th century.

He has to hark back again to find the scent of his argument. (Robert Louis Stevenson, Familiar Studies of Men and Books, 1882)

harp on To dwell on tediously, to repeat endlessly and monotonously, to belabor, to beat into the ground; also to harp on one or the same string. Ancient harpists reputedly played on only one string in order to demonstrate more fully their skill on the instrument. The phrase appears in Richard Grafton’s A Chronicle at Large and Mere History of the Affairs of England (1568), where it is attributed to Sir Thomas More:

The Cardinal made a countenance to the Lord Haward that he should harp no more upon that string.

The expression and its variants date from the 16th century.

return to one’s muttons To get back to the subject at hand, to return to the point at issue; to stick to the point, to get back on track. Little known in the U.S., this British expression derives from the French Revenons à nos moutons ‘Let’s get back to our sheep.’ The line originated as an often repeated admonition in an early French play by Blanchet, L’Avocat Pathelin, in which the plaintiff continually tried to discredit the defense’s lawyer by claiming he had stolen from him. The judge’s attempts to concentrate on the charge against the defendant, that he had stolen sheep, were marked by addressing the line Revenons à nos moutons to the plaintiff. The phrase was much quoted by Rabelais, which accounts for its wider currency.

ride a hobbyhorse See OBSESSION.

ring the changes To repeat the same thing in different ways; to vary the manner in which one performs a routine task. Originally, ring the changes referred to performing all possible permutations in ringing a set of bells. The expression is commonly applied figuratively to describe changing the order of a series of words, restating a fact or opinion in several different ways, or varying one’s technique in accomplishing an otherwise routine task.

They shall only ring you over a few changes upon three words: crying, Faith, Hope and Charity; Hope, Faith and Charity, and so on. (John Eachard, The Grounds and Occasions of the Contempt of the Clergy and Religion Enquired Into, 1670)

run that by me again A somewhat rude request to have information repeated, usually (but not necessarily) similar in tone to “Come again.” The likelihood is that the expression’s origin lies in the electronic re-runs and replays made commonplace by tape recordings and videotape.

Picturesque Expressions: A Thematic Dictionary, 1st Edition. © 1980 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


Dictionary of Unfamiliar Words by Diagram Group Copyright © 2008 by Diagram Visual Information Limited
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.repetition - an event that repeats; "the events today were a repeat of yesterday's"
periodic event, recurrent event - an event that recurs at intervals
sequence - several repetitions of a melodic phrase in different keys
cycle - a periodically repeated sequence of events; "a cycle of reprisal and retaliation"
rematch, replay - something (especially a game) that is played again
recurrence, return - happening again (especially at regular intervals); "the return of spring"
2.repetition - the act of doing or performing again
continuance, continuation - the act of continuing an activity without interruption
echolalia - (psychiatry) mechanical and meaningless repetition of the words of another person (as in schizophrenia)
iteration - doing or saying again; a repeated performance
redundancy - repetition of an act needlessly
reiteration, reduplication - the act of repeating over and again (or an instance thereof)
copying - an act of copying
action replay, instant replay, replay - the immediate rebroadcast of some action (especially sports action) that has been recorded on videotape
renewal - the act of renewing
replication - the repetition of an experiment in order to test the validity of its conclusion; "scientists will not believe an experimental result until they have seen at least one replication"
3.repetition - the repeated use of the same word or word pattern as a rhetorical device
rhetorical device - a use of language that creates a literary effect (but often without regard for literal significance)
anadiplosis, reduplication - repetition of the final words of a sentence or line at the beginning of the next
epanalepsis - repetition after intervening words
epanodos - repetition of a group of words in reverse order
epiphora, epistrophe - repetition of the ends of two or more successive sentences, verses, etc.
gemination - the doubling of a word or phrase (as for rhetorical effect)
ploce - (rhetoric) repetition to gain special emphasis or extend meaning
polyptoton - repetition of a word in a different case or inflection in the same sentence; "My own heart's heart"
epanaphora, anaphora - repetition of a word or phrase at the beginning of successive clauses
anaphora - using a pronoun or similar word instead of repeating a word used earlier
symploce - repetition of a word or phrase at the beginning and another at the end of successive clauses, i.e., simultaneous use of anaphora and epistrophe
Based on WordNet 3.0, Farlex clipart collection. © 2003-2012 Princeton University, Farlex Inc.


1. recurrence, repeating, reappearance, duplication, echo He wants to avoid repetition of the confusion.
2. repeating, redundancy, replication, duplication, restatement, iteration, reiteration, tautology, recapitulation, repetitiousness He could have cut much of the repetition and saved pages.
Collins Thesaurus of the English Language – Complete and Unabridged 2nd Edition. 2002 © HarperCollins Publishers 1995, 2002


1. The act or process of repeating:
2. Imitative reproduction, as of the style of another:
The American Heritage® Roget's Thesaurus. Copyright © 2013, 2014 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.


[ˌrepɪˈtɪʃən] Nrepetición f
Collins Spanish Dictionary - Complete and Unabridged 8th Edition 2005 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1971, 1988 © HarperCollins Publishers 1992, 1993, 1996, 1997, 2000, 2003, 2005


[ˌrɛpɪˈtɪʃən] n
[event] → répétition f
(saying something again)répétition f
Collins English/French Electronic Resource. © HarperCollins Publishers 2005


nWiederholung f; there are six repetitions of the patterndas Muster wiederholt sich sechsmal
Collins German Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged 7th Edition 2005. © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1980 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1997, 1999, 2004, 2005, 2007


[ˌrɛpɪˈtɪʃn] nripetizione f
Collins Italian Dictionary 1st Edition © HarperCollins Publishers 1995


(rəˈpiːt) verb
1. to say or do again. Would you repeat those instructions, please?
2. to say (something one has heard) to someone else, sometimes when one ought not to. Please do not repeat what I've just told you.
3. to say (something) one has learned by heart. to repeat a poem.
something which is repeated. I'm tired of seeing all these repeats on television; (also adjective) a repeat performance.
reˈpeated adjective
said, done etc many times. In spite of repeated warnings, he went on smoking.
reˈpeatedly adverb
many times. I've asked him for it repeatedly.
repetition (repəˈtiʃən) noun
(an) act of repeating.
repetitive (rəˈpetətiv) adjective
doing, saying, the same thing too often. His speeches are very repetitive; My job is a bit repetitive.
reˈpetitively adverb
reˈpetitiveness noun
repeat oneself
to repeat what one has already said. Listen carefully because I don't want to have to repeat myself.

to repeat (not repeat again) the lessons.
Kernerman English Multilingual Dictionary © 2006-2013 K Dictionaries Ltd.


n repetición f
English-Spanish/Spanish-English Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2006 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in classic literature ?
In tense silence they listened for a repetition of the sound and then De Montfort cried out:
Mr Quilp was certainly entertaining himself with vocal exercise, but it was rather a kind of chant than a song; being a monotonous repetition of one sentence in a very rapid manner, with a long stress upon the last word, which he swelled into a dismal roar.
I am told that in a German concert or opera, they hardly ever encore a song; that though they may be dying to hear it again, their good breeding usually preserves them against requiring the repetition.
Do we not wile away moments of inanity or fatigued waiting by repeating some trivial movement or sound, until the repetition has bred a want, which is incipient habit?
Romance lives by repetition, and repetition converts an appetite into an art.
"Be not alarmed, madam, on receiving this letter, by the apprehension of its containing any repetition of those sentiments or renewal of those offers which were last night so disgusting to you.
You will find no tedium of repetition in all their poetry, no thin vein of thought beaten out over endless pages.
The Beaver had counted with scrupulous care, Attending to every word: But it fairly lost heart, and outgrabe in despair, When the third repetition occurred.
His conception of her was for him a sacred memory, and his future wife was bound to be in his imagination a repetition of that exquisite, holy ideal of a woman that his mother had been.
In that case we may fairly hope that a repetition of the dose will lead, in a greater or lesser degree, to a repetition of the result.
He needn't have repeated it; once was enough; Huck was making thirty or forty miles an hour before the repetition was uttered.
Since that time, scarcely a week has passed during seven whole years, without his hearing from me a repetition of the part I played in that manifestation, together with ample descriptions of all the phenomena in Spaceland, and the arguments for the existence of Solid things derivable from Analogy.