Figure Name asyndeton
Source Silva Rhetoricae (; Ad Herennium 4.30.41; Quintilian 9.3.53-54 ("acervatio"); Isidore 1.36.20; Sherry (1550) 59 ("asindeton," "dissolutio"); Peacham (1577) G4r, I4r; Putt. (1589) 185 ("asyndeton," "the loose language"); Day 1599 83; Smith 182-84 ("dialyton" "asyndeton"); JG Smith (1665) ("asyndeton") ("dialyton"); Ad Herennium (331); Garrett Epp (1994) ("dissolutio," "asyndeton"); Vinsauf (1967) ("asyndeton"); Macbeth (1876); Vinsauf (1967) ("dissolutio"); Peacham 1593; Gibbons (1767) 233 ("asyndeton"); Bain (1867) 64 ("asyndeton"); De Mille (1882); Holmes (1806) ("asyndeton"); Demetrius (1902) 191; Blount (1653) 33; Raub (1888) 221; Bullinger (1898) ("asyndeton; or no-ands"); Johnson (1903) ("asyndeton"); Norwood (1742) ("dialyton"); Vickers (1989) ("asyndeton (or dissolutio)")
Earliest Source None
Synonyms asindeton, brachiepia, articulus, dissolutio, dissolutum, dialyton, loose language, acervatio, lack of ands, no-ands, asyntheton, dialysis, solutum, epitrochasmos, percursio
Etymology Gk. a and sundeton "bound together with"
Type Scheme
Linguistic Domain Lexicographic

1. The omission of conjunctions between clauses, often resulting in a hurried rhythm or vehement effect. (Silva Rhetoricae)

2. Asyndeton is a figure which keepeth the parts of speech together without the helpe of any conjunction. (Peacham?)

3. Asyndeton, Without a copulative.; Asyndeton, inconjunctum, disjoyned, or without copulative: derived from the privative a, and [syndetos] colligatus, bound together; which is derived from [deo] to bind. A figure when in a heap or pile of words, a conjunction copulative it not only fo speed and vehemency, but for pathetical Emphasis sake left out.; Dialyton, dissolutum, disjoyned; derived from [dialyo] dissolvo to disjoyn. It is all one with Asyndeton. (JG Smith)

3. Dialyton, Disjoyned: This figure and Asyndeton are alike. (JG Smith)

4. Asyndeton is a presentation in separate
parts, conjunctions being suppressed (Ad Herennium)

5. A concise series of clauses without connectives. (Garrett Epp)

6. If you wish to be brief, first prune away those devices mentioned above which contribute to an elaborate style; let the entire theme be confined within narrow limits. Compress it in accordance with the following formula. ... Introduce no conjunction as a link between clauses - let them proceed uncoupled. (Vinsauf)

7. Asyndeton, Lack of Ands, a special form of this great figure [ellipsis], falls to be treated along with it. The birth-shout of a nation occurs in Exodus xv.- a poem of liberty; for the earliest republic ever born on earth was inspired into being by miracle - by Jehovah, Patron-God of human freedom, and in express preference to monarchy. No son of Moses mounted an hereditary throne. Pure Judaism frowned alike on monarch and on priestcraft. This poem is the oldest lyric in existence; its very antiquity should make it venerable; its occasion should make it dear to all who hate depotism:

"The enemy said: I will puruse; I will overtake; I will divide the spoil; I will draw my sword; my hand shall destroy them. Thou didst blow with thy wind; the sea covered them; they sank like lead in the mighty waters."

How much of force and hurrying rapidity would be lost by putting in the "ands." (Macbeth)

6. (Dissolutio) If a mode of expression both easy and adorned is desired, set aside all the techniques of the dignified style and have recourse to means that are simple, but of a simplicity that does not shock the ear by its rudeness. Here are the rhetorical colours with which to adorn your style: (Vinsauf)

2. Brachiepia is a forme of speech, by which the matter is brieflie told with no more words then those that be necessaarie: or when the Orator by brevitie cutteth off the expectation of the hearers. (Peacham)

8. "a Figure, occasioned by the omission of conjunctive particles, which are dropped either to express vehemence or speed; or sometimes it may be from a noble negligence of nice accuracy, arising from an attention to our ideas." (Gibbons)

9. "Asyndeton, or the omission of connectives, is a figure conducing to energy." (Bain)

10. 216. ASYNDETON.
Asyndeton is the omission of conjunctions. It produces emphasis by introducing circumstance in an unusual manner, and by the exciting effect of rapid utterance. (De Mille)

11. Syllepsis, in more worthy, comprehends The less; and former's preference defends Asyndeton, or (which the same implies) Dialyton the cop'lative denies. (Holmes)

12. The absence of conjunctions. (Demetrius)

13. "In some places there is a shorter Compar [an even gait of sentences answering each other in measures interchangeably]: where word to word, or substantive to substantive, are jayned, and yet without conjunction, which is ASYNDETON." (Blount)

14. "the omission of connectives" (Raub)

15. asyndeton... without any conjunctions. Asyndeta have been divided into four classes:-
Conjucntive or copulative, when the words or propositions are to be joined together.
Disjunctive, when they are to be separated from each other.
Explanatory, when they explain each other.
Causal, when a reason is subjoined. (Bullinger, 150-151)

16. Asyn'deton.—This figure consists in omission of connections between words or clauses, as in the familiar quotation, "I came, I saw, I conquered." The intended effect is, sometimes, to make the sentence
impressive by requiring the hearer's imagination to supply the connectives, thereby fixing the attention more earnestly upon the subject. In delivering such a sentence, the speaker should make a marked pause at each point where a connective is omitted, or the effect will be lost. Again, the figure is used to suggest great rapidity of action... (Johnson, 45)

17. DIALYTON. Dialyton, from the Greek (dialuo,) to dissolve. This Figure pretends, through a mighty haste and vehemence of speech, to use no conjunction, to render our discourse the more emphatical and earnest; nay, should we insert the copula, our discourse would seem too slow and heavy, and lose much of its life and vigour, and expressiveness. (Norwood, 104)

18. Asyndeton (or dissolutio), the absence of connecting particles between clauses. (Vickers 493)


1./2. Veni, vidi, vici (Caesar: "I came; I saw; I conquered") (Silva Rhetoricae & Peacham)

2. Neither did he thinke any thing wel accomplished which he commanded: for there was nothing which he him selfe would not take in hand, prevent, labour, he was able to suffer cold, thirst, hunger. (Cicero qtd. in Peacham)

2. For in her is the spirit of understanding, which is holy, the onely begotten, manifold, subtle, moveable, cleare, undefiled, evident, harmelesse, loving the good, & c. (Sapien.7.22. qtd. in Peacham)

4. " Indulge your father, obey your relatives, gratify your friends, submit to the laws." (Ad Herennium)

4. " Enter into a complete defence, make no objection, give your slaves to be examined, be eager to find the truth." (Ad Herennium)

5. Touch not; taste not; handle not. (Col 2.21 qtd. in Garrett Epp)

3. By the folly and wickednesse thou hast lost thy substance, thy good name, thy friends, thy parents, and offended thy Creator. (JG Smith)

3. Her face with beauty, her head with wisedom, her eyes with Majesty, her countenance with gracefulnesse, her lips with lovelinesse; where many [ands] are spared.(JG Smith)

7. "I am your king. You are Frenchmen. Behold the enemy." - Henry IV of France (Macbeth)

6. As the need had directed, so was its fulfilment in act. For other persons there remains a single nature; the Son united himself to ours enclosed in the womb of a virgin. Her womb enclosed him whom the world could not contain; he had a beginning in time who existed before time was. True man, true God, he experienced all that is proper to us, sin only excepted. (Vinsauf)

2. An example: Pompeius prepared for war in winter, began it in the spring, and furnished it in sommer. (Peacham)

2. Another: As he passed by, he tooke Lemnum: then he left a garison at Tharsus: after that he got a cittie in Bithinia, driven from thence into Hespontus, straight way wan Abidus. Cicero for Manlius: How speedilie Pompeius being Captain failed with vehemencie of war, who entred into Cilicia, spied out Africa from thence came with his Navie into Sardinia. The like brevitie Simo useth in Terence: The corps (saith he) goeth before, we follow after, we come to the grave, it is put into the fire, a lamentation is made. (Peacham)

8. "Sallust furnishes us with an example of this sort in his description of the Moors: 'There was then, says he, an horrible spectacle in the open plains, pursuit, flight, slaughter, captivity.'" (Gibbons)

9. "'The wind passeth over it--it is gone.' 'Thou sentest forth thy wrath--it consumed them as stubble.'" (Bain)

11. Faith, justice, truth, religion, mercy dies. (Holmes)

12. 'Against yourself you summon him ; against
the laws you summon him ; against the democracy you summon him.' (Demetrius)

13. "Her face with beauty, her head with wisdom, her eyes with Majesty, her countenance with gracefulness…" (Blount)

14. "Thou openst thy hand, it is filled with riches." (Raub)

15. "The enemy said, I will pursue, I will overtake, I will divide the spoil; My lust shall be satisfied upon them; I will draw my sword, My hand shall destroy them, Thou didst blow with thy wind, The sea covered them: They sank as lead in the mighty waters." -EX. 15:9,10 (Bullinger, 151)

16. William Dimond's The Mariner's Dream:

He springs from his hammock, he flies to the deck;
Amazement confrotjts him with images dire;
Wild winds and mad waves drive the vessel a-wreck;
The masts fly in splinters; the shrouds are on fire. (Johnson, 45)

17. 1 Tim. 3. 2, 3. For men shall be lovers of themselves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy. Thus the verse runs off presently, with more quickness and vehemence, than if the particle and was frequently interposed. (Norwood, 104)

18. Gor'd mine own thoughts, sold cheap what is most dear,
Made old offences of affections new. (Vickers 493)

Kind Of Omission
Part Of acervatio
Related Figures figures of grammar, figures of rhythm, figures of omission, brachylogia, polysyndeton, isocolon, homoioteleuton, hirmus, figures of abbreviation, figures of syntax, ellipsis
Notes Peacham describes the function of this figure as avoiding "tedious repeating of a conjunction" for the sake of sound and brevity. He cautions against using this figure when listing "contraries" (peace/war, pleasure/pain, etc.).
Confidence Unconfident
Last Editor Daniel Etigson
Confidence Unconfident
Editorial Notes requires special treatment in relation to acervatio
Reviewed No