Figure Name epanorthosis
Source Silva Rhetoricae (http://humanities.byu.edu/rhetoric/Silva.htm); Aquil. 1 ("prodiorthosis," "praecedens correctio"); Melanch. d3v ("correctio""epanorthosis" "metanoia"); JG Smith (1665) ("epanorthosis"); Ad Herennium ("correction")(319-320); Peacham (1593); Macbeth (1876); Gibbons (1767) 141 ("epanorthosis"); Holmes (1806) ("epanorthosis"); De Mille (1882); Blackwall (1718); Bullinger (1898) ("epanorthosis; or, correction"); Norwood (1742) ("epanorthosis"); Vickers (1989) ("epanorthosis")
Earliest Source None
Synonyms prodiorthosis, correctio, praecedens correctio, correction, metania, diorthosis, epidiorthosis, metanoea
Etymology from Gk. epi, "in addition," ana, "again," and orthos, "straight"
Type Chroma
Linguistic Domain Lexicographic

1. Amending a first thought by altering it to make it stronger or more vehement (=metanoeia). (Silva Rhetoricae)

2. Correction, or amending: a figure when in our speech, something that went before, is called back and corrected, &c.; Epanorthosis, Correctio, emendatio, Correction or amending; derived from [epanortho*] Corrigo, to correct or amend. Correction having used a word of sufficient force, yet pretending a greater strength of meaning, refuses it, and supplyes the place with one of more extension. It is the reinforcement of the clause last uttered by the subsequent. A figure when in our speech, something that went before, is called back and corrected; whereof there are two kinds; the one is when a word is corrected after; the other, when a word is corrected before it is spoken. This Exornation is made four ways, viz.:1. By degrees of comparison, 2. By comparison of the greater and lesser, 3. By doubting,4. By the signs of repenting. (Note in margin: Epanorthosis and Aposiopesis are kinds of Revocation)(JG Smith)

3. Correction retracts what has been said and replaces it with what seems more suitable (Ad Herennium)

4. Metania is comprehended under Correction, and it is saith Rufinianus a description of things by reprehension. (Peacham)

5. We hurry on to Correction or Epanorthosis- the recalling of an expression in order to put a stronger or a more guarded one in its place. (Macbeth)

6. "a Figure where-by we retract or recal what we have spoken or resolved" (Gibbons)

7. Epanorthosis doth past words correct, And, only to enhance, seems to reject. (Holmes)

Another very similar figure is found in epanorthosis. Here a statement is retracted in order that something stronger may be substituted:
"Well, we shall yield Spain, and then you will pass into Africa. Will pass, did I say? This very year they ordered one of their consuls into Africa, the other into Spain."-HANNIBAL, from "Livy."
"Rejoice, my friends, the tyrant dies this day. This day, do I say? This very moment in which 1 kept silence he suffered for his Crime." -APOLLONIUS OF TYANA.
"The burden of thought from having given the chief value to the vellum, has now become the chief obstacle to its value-nay, has totally extinguished its value."-DE QUINCEY.
In these passages the first statement is felt to be inadequate, and by being retracted it causes the strongest possible emphasis to be placed upon that which is substituted for it. (De Mille)

Again, an expression is sometimes withdrawn from the purpose of substitution something stronger. (De Mille)

9. Correction is a Figure whereby a Man earnestly retracts and recals what he had said or resolv'd. (...) When what an Author hath said appears too much, he abates it by correcting himself, and using some lessening Expression. (...) When what has been said appears too little, he strengthens the Expression, and enlarges the Thought. (...) An Author thus correcting and checking himself, prevents Cavils and Objections; and by the unexpected Quickness of the Recollection and Turn pleasingly surprizes the Reader, and all of a sudden fires him with his own Passion. (Blackwall)

10. A Recalling of what has been said, in order to correct it as by an Afterthought... The figure is so called when a writer or speaker has said something, and immediately recalls it in order to substitute something better, or stronger, or weightier, in its place, thus correcting what has been said... Epanorthosis is of three kinds:
1. Where the retraction is absolute.
2. Where it is partial or relative.
3. Where it is conditional. (Bullinger, 891-892)

11. EPANORTHOSIS. Epanorthosis, from a Greek word signifying to correct or amend. When we are in a passion we are seldom satisfied with what we say, or do; insomuch that we are apt to fancy our expressions are no ways equal to our thoughts, and so we still add fresh, and more words to correct, as we think, the insufficiency of the
former. (Norwood, 81)

12. Epanorthosis (or correctio), where a word or idea is corrected and replaced by one more suitable. (Vickers 494)


1. I am angry—no, I am furious about the delay. (Silva Rhetoricae)

3. " But if the defendant had asked his hosts, or rather had only hinted, this could easily have been accomplished." (Ad Herennium)

3. " After the men in question had conquered, or rather had been conquered—for how shall I call that a conquest which has brought more
disaster than benefit to the conquerors ? " (Ad Herennium)

3. " O Virtue's companion, Envy, who art wont to pursue good men, yes, even to persecute them." (Ad Herennium)

2. For this thy shameful and accursed fact, what shall I call thee? a wretch? nay a beast; nay a poysonous Serpent; yet none of these are fit enough for thee, a devill thou art both in respect of thy malice which thou possessest, and of the sundry mischiefs thou daily dost commit. (JG Smith)

4. He sheweth himself a man amongst his enemies, nay a lyon But of other Authours it is taken for a forme of speech by which the Orator repenting himselfe of some word or saying past, by fault of memorie, or want of due consideration, craveth leve to resume it, and to recite it, and to place a fitter word in stead thereof. Hereupon it is called Poenitentia Dicit, which repentance is many waies signified, and the leave to call words back is diversly expressed, according to the pleasure and devise of the Orator. (Peacham)

4. Sometime the Orator blameth himselfe, as doth Cicero in his Oration for Milo: We are fooles that do presume to compare Drusus Africanus, Pompeius, and our selves with Clodius. (Peacham)

5. "It is a shame, Mr. President, that the noble bull-dogs of the administration should be wasting their precious time in worrying the rats of the opposition."
- John Randolph (Macbeth)

6. "Terence gives us an instance in the following speech of a distressed father: 'I have one only son, a lovely youth: / Ah! did I say I have him? Once I had him. / But Chremes, if I have him now, or not, / Is all uncertain--'" (Gibbons)

7. Most brave! Brave, said I? Most heroic Act! (Holmes)

9. First and last
On me, me only, as the Source and Spring
Of all Corruption, all the blame lights due:
So might the Wrath! Fond Wish! cou'dst thou Support
That Burthen, heavier than the Earth to bear;
Than all the World much heavier? - Milton (Blackwall)

9. But may I first in op'ning Earth sink down,
Or to the lowest Hell be Thunderthrown,
In Night's eternal Shades shut up beneath,
E're I my Honour wound, or break my Faith! (Blackwall)

10. [ex. of I.] John 12:27. -The Lord Jesus prays as perfect man, "Father, save me from this hour: [and then, remembering, as perfect God, the work which He had come to do, He adds] but for this cause came I unto this hour." (Bullinger, 892)

10. [ex. of II.] 2 Tim. 4:8. -"Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: [then comes a beautiful Epanorthosis] and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing." (Bullinger, 893)

10. [ex. of III.] Gal. 3:4. -"Have ye suffered so many things in vain?-If it be yet in vain." (Bullinger, 893)

12. A good heart, Kate, is the sun and the moon, or rather the sun and not the
moon; for it shines bright and never changes, but keeps his course truly.
--Shakespeare, Henry V, 5.2.162 (Vickers 494)

Kind Of Identity
Part Of
Related Figures figures of interruption, figures of pathos, correctio, parenthesis
Notes Unsure if 'type of' is correct in this case.
Confidence Unconfident
Last Editor Daniel Etigson
Confidence Unconfident
Editorial Notes
Reviewed No