Figure Name epistrophe
Source Silva Rhetoricae (http://humanities.byu.edu/rhetoric/Silva.htm); Ad Herennium ("conversio"); Sherry (1550) ("antistrophe," "conversio"); Peacham (1593) ("epiphora"); Suarez ("conversio" "epistrophe" "antistrophe"); Fraunce (1588) ("epistrophe," "conversion"); Puttenham (1589) ("antistrophe," "the counter turne"); Day 1599; Hoskins (1599); Garrett Epp (1994) ("conversio," "antistrophe"); JG Smith (1665) ("epistrophe"); Vinsauf (1967) ("conversio"); Macbeth (1876) ("epistrophe," "antistrophe," "conversion," epiphora"); Holmes (1806) ("epistrophe"); De Mille (1882) ("epistrophe," "antistrophe"); Blount (1653) 8; Bullinger (1898) ("epistrophe; or, like sentence-endings"); Norwood (1742) ("epistrophe"); Vickers (1989) ("epistrophe")
Earliest Source None
Synonyms epiphora, antistrophe, conversio, the counter turn, conversion, like sentence-ending
Etymology Gk. epi, "upon" and strophe or stropho, "turning" ("wheeling about")
Type Scheme
Linguistic Domain Phonological

1. Ending a series of lines, phrases, clauses, or sentences with the same word or words. (Silva Rhetoricae)

2. Epiphora is a figure which endeth diverse members or clauses still with one and the same word. (Peacham "epiphora")

3. Repetition of a word at the end of successive clauses. (Garrett Epp)

4. A turning to the same sound: a figure when divers sentences end alike, &c.; Epistrophe, Conversio. Conversion, or a turning to the same sound, or a changing of course, derived from [epi] prope, near to, and [strepho] verto, to turn or change. It is a repetition of the same word or sound in the ends of divers members of a sentence. A figure when divers sentences end alike, or when divers clauses end with the same word or words. (Note in margin: See Homo teleuton.) (JG Smith)

5. 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)

6. Epistrophe; Antistrophe; Conversion or Epiphora. Here are three Greek names for one figure; what a proof of the unwearying effort devoted to this theme in the olden time! This is the repetition of a word, not at the beginning, but at the end of successive clauses. (Macbeth)

7. Epistrophe more sentences doth close With the same words, whether in verse or prose. (Holmes)

8 a) 177. EPISTROPHE.
Epistrophe is the repetition of the same word at the end of successive clauses or sentences:
"The glorious company of the apostles praise thee, the godly fellowship of the saints praise thee; the noble army of martyrs praise thee." (De Mille)

8 b) 178. ANTISTROPHE.
Antistrophe is that figure by which the same word is placed both at the beginning and at the end of a clause or sentence:
"Fare thee well! and if forevfer,
Still forever, fare thee well." -BRYON. (De Mille)

9. "EPISTROPHE is contrary to [ANAPHORA], when many clauses end with the same words;" (Blount)

10. The Repetition of the same Word or Words at the end of successive Sentences... It is a figure in which the same word or words are repeated at the end of successive sentences or clauses, instead of (as in Anaphora) at the beginning. (Bullinger, 261)

11. EPISTROPHE. Epistrophe, conversio, from the Greek (epi and strepho, ) verto. This Figure returns the same word at the end of several clauses. (Norwood, 69)

12. Epistrophe (or conversio), where the same word is repeated at the end of a sequence of clauses or sentences. (Vickers 494)


1. What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny compared to what lies within us. (Emerson qtd. in Silva Rhetoricae)

1. Hourly joys be still upon you!
Juno sings her blessings on you. [. . .]
Scarcity and want shall shun you,
Ceres' blessing so is on you.
— Shakespeare, The Tempest (4.1.108-109; 116-17) (Silva Rhetoricae)

1. We are born to sorrow, pass our time in sorrow, end our days in sorrow. (Silva Rhetoricae)

2. When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I imagined as a child. (1.Cor.13. qtd. Peacham)

2. Have we not prophecied in thy name? have we not cast out devils in they name? and done miracles in thy name? (Mat. qtd. Peacham)

2. Ambition seeketh to be next to the best, after that, to be equall with the best: last, to be chiefe and above the best. (Peacham)

3. Behold, bless ye the Lord, all ye servants of the Lord, which by night stand in the house of the Lord. (Ps 134.1 qtd. in Garrett Epp)

4. Where the richnesse did invite the eyes, the fashion did entertain the eyes, and the device did teach the eyes. (JG Smith)

5. O apple! wretched apple! Miserable apple! (Vinsauf)

6. "Awake, and generously expand your desires to encircle this benevolent and holy kingdom of Christ. God, who has set you an example of exclusive regard to this object, demands it of you. Christ, who purchased the Church with his own blood, demands it of you. The holy angels, who incessantly minister to the Church, demand it of you. The illustrious army of patriarchs, prophets, apostles, and martyrs, by their services and sufferings for the Church, demand it of you."
- Dr. Griffin, President of Williams College. (Macbeth)

7. We are born in Sorrow, pass our time in Sorrow, end our Days in Sorrow. (Holmes)

8 a) "Lust will become a law; envy will become a law; covetousness and ambition will become a law." - JOHN PYM. (De Mille)

8 a) "The borrower is timid; our laws are timid; the cultivated classes are timid." - EMERSON. (De Mille)

8 b) "A mother's love! how sweet the name!
What is a mother's love?" - Montgomery. (De Mille)

9. "Where the richness did invite the eyes, the fashion did entertain the eyes, and the device did teach the eyes." (Blount)

10. "And the and was not able to bear them that they might dwell together:/for their substance was so great that they could not dwell together." -Gen. 13:5 (Bullinger, 261)

11. Are they Israelites, so am I? Are they the feed of Abraham, so am I? 2 Cor. 11. 22. Have we not prophesied in thy name, and done miracles in thy name? Matt. 7. 21. (Norwood, 69)

11. See Psal. 106. where, his mercy endureth for ever, is the conclusion of every verse, and very proper to express the endless duration of his mercy. (Norwood, 70)

12. Is this nothing?
Why then the world and all that's in't is nothing,
My wife is nothing, nor nothing have these nothings,
If this be nothing.
--Shakespeare, Winter's Tale, 1.2.292 (Vickers 494)

Kind Of Repetition
Part Of
Related Figures anaphora, symploce, figures of repetition
Notes Peacham, like with many figures, argues that epiphora (epistrophe) should not be used in excess. Interestingly, the figure, he writes, is designed to "longer hold the sound in the mind of the hearer" (Peacham "epiphora").
Confidence Unconfident
Last Editor Daniel Etigson
Confidence Unconfident
Editorial Notes
Reviewed No