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Wednesday, 2 June 2021

Nuts and Bolts: antimetabole.

 Here's another long Greek word that turns out to mean something really simple.

Antimetabole is when you repeat a phrase, but swap around two of the most important words in it.

I know what I like, and I like what I know

is an example of antimetabole (and also, of course, of the very deepest possible stupidity).

It's not necessary to know about antimetabole in order to use it. Did Snoop Dog know he was using antimetabole when he used the lyrics I've got my mind on my money and my money on my mind? Did Shakespeare know when he wrote Fair is foul and foul is fair?

I'm pretty sure that my late mother-in-law didn't know she was using antimetabole when she used to say I like cheese but cheese don't like me.

It was still a clear and effective expression of her predicament, though.

Nuts and Bolts: antimetabole. This word is Greek, from anti- against, or opposite and metabolē, turning about or change.

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