Figure Name synoeciosis
Source Quintilian 9.3.81 ("contrapositum"); JG Smith (1665) ("synoeceiosis"); Putt. (1589) 216 ("syneciosis," "the crosse copling"); Day 1599 95 ("sinaeciosis"); Silva Rhetoricae (; Peacham 1593; Holmes (1806) ("synoeceiosis," "synoeceiesis"); De Mille (1882) ("synoeceosis," "enantiosis"); Bullinger (1898) ("synoeceiosis; or, cohabitation"); Vickers (1989) ("synoeciosis")
Earliest Source None
Synonyms oxymoron, contrapositum, crosse copling, syneciosis, sinaeciosis, synaeceosis, synoeceiosis, synoeceiesis, synoeceosis, enantiosis
Etymology Gk. syn or sun, "with" or "together with" and oikeios or oikeiosis, "one's own" or "dwelling in the same house"
Type Scheme
Linguistic Domain Lexicographic

1. A coupling or bringing together of contraries, but not in order to oppose them to one another (as in antithesis). (Silva Rhetoricae)

2. Reconciling: a figure teaching to reconcile things that differ, and to repugn common opinion with reason, &c.; SYNOICEIOSIS, Conciliatio, Reconciling or agreement, or a joyning together of things that differ: derived from [synoikeioo] familiarem reddo, to render familiar. A figure which teacheth to conjoyn divers things, or contraries, or to reconcile things that differ, and to repugn common opiniowith reason; and is, when contraries are attributed to the same thing. (JG Smith)

3. Synaeceosis is a figure which teacheth to conjoine diverse things or contraries, and to repugne common opinion with reason, thus: The covetous & the prodigall are both alike in fault, for neither of them knoweth to use their wealth aright, for they both abuse it, and both get shame by it. (Peacham)

4. Synoeceiosis to one subject ties Two contraries, and fuller sense supplies. (Holmes)

Things of an opposite or different nature are contrasted with one another. (De Mille)

6. The Repetition of the same Word in the same Sentence with an Extended Meaning... [see Etymology] The figure is so called because two words are used, and in the general sense, but with a different and more extended signification. They "dwell together" as it were "in the same house;" and yet, while one speaker takes up the word and uses it in the same sense, he yet means a different thing. (Bullinger, 310-311)

7. Synoeciosis (oxymoron or contrapositum), uniting (not opposing, as in antithesis) contrary and incompatible-seeming terms or states. (Vickers 498)


1. Thus for your sake I dayly dye
And do but seem to live in deede:
Thus is my blisse but miserie,
My lucre losse without your meede.
—George Puttenham (Silva Rhetoricae)

2. The covetous and the prodigal are both alike in fault, for neither of them knows to use their wealth aright; they both abuse it, and both get shame by it.

Gluttonous feasting and starving famine are both as one, for both weaken the body, procure sicknesse and cause death.

The covetous man wants as well what he hath as what he hath not. (JG Smith)

3. Fluttonous feasting, and starving famine are all one, for both weaken the bodie, procure sicknesse, and cause death. (Peacham)

4. He is dead, even while he liveth. (Holmes)

5. This is called "synoeceosis," and also "enantiosis:"
"Polarity, or action and reaction, we meetin gin every part of nature, in darkness and light, in heat and cold, in the ebb and flow of waters, in male and female, in the inspiration and expiration of plants and animals, in the systole and diastole of the heart." -EMERSON.
"Every sweet has its sour, every evil its good." -EMERSON.
"Opinions may make a man a heretic, but that they make a traitor I have never heard till now." -EARL OF STRAFFORD.
"My hold on the colonies is the close affection which grows from common names, from kindred blood, from similar privileges, and equal protection. These are ties which, though light as air, yet are strong as links of iron." -BURKE.
"To a shape like this, so small yet so comprehensive, so slight yet so lasting, so insignificant yet so venerable, turns the mighty activity of Homer, and so turning is enabled to live and warm us forever." -LEIGH HUNT.
"High interest, bad security." -DUKE OF WELLINGTON.
"But thousands die without this or that,
Die, and endow a college or a cat." -POPE. (De Mille)

6. Matt. 5:19. -"Whosoever ... shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven." In the former place, the allusion is to the distinction which the Pharisees made between different commandments (just as Rome has since made the distinction between "venial" and "mortal" sins). There is no such distinction and therefore, when in the latter place Christ says "he shall be called the least," He means that he will not be there at all, for there will be no such distinction there. There is no least in either case. (Bullinger, 311)

7. Have we, as 'twere with a defeated joy,
With an auspicious and a dropping eye,
With mirth in funeral, and with dirge in marriage,
In equal scale weighing delight and dole,
Taken to wife.
--Shakespeare, Hamlet, 1. 2. 10 (Vickers 498)

Kind Of Repetition
Part Of
Related Figures antithesis, oxymoron, enantiosis
Notes "The proper use hereof serveth to couple contrarie evils together, & to condemne them both by shewing a reason, which is taken from their unitie in working and consent in some effect." (Peacham)
Confidence Unconfident
Last Editor Daniel Etigson
Confidence Unconfident
Editorial Notes
Reviewed No