Figure Name diastole
Source Silva Rhetoricae (http://humanities.byu.edu/rhetoric/Silva.htm); Mosellanus ("ectasis") a3v; Susenbrotus (1540) 22 ("diastole," "ectasis"); Sherry (1550) 27 ("ectasis," "extensio"); Peacham (1577) E3r ; JG Smith (1665) ("diastole")
Earliest Source None
Synonyms eciasis, ectasis
Etymology from Gk. dia, "asunder" and stellein, "to place"
Type Scheme
Linguistic Domain Phonological

1. To lengthen a vowel or syllable beyond its typical length. A kind of metaplasm. (Silva Rhetoricae)

2. Extension: a figure whereby a syllable, short by nature• is made long.; Diastole, extensio, extension, or lengthening. A figure of Prosodia, whereby syllable, short by nature is made long. (JG Smith)

3. Diastole short syllables prolongs; But this, to right the verse, the accent wrongs. (Holmes)


1. The third syllable of "serviceable" is normally short, but as this word occurs in the following line of iambic pentameter, that syllable is lengthened because it takes the stress of the meter's rhythm (stressed syllables are underlined):

I know thee well; a serviceable villain, —Shakespeare, King Lear 4.6.251 (Silva Rhetoricae)

3. Naufrāgia, for Naufrǎgia. (Holmes)

Kind Of Omission
Part Of
Related Figures metaplasm, systole
Notes Unsure of 'type of' -- omission because one would normally expected the vowel or syllable length to be shorter? Diastole is sometimes employed for the sake of meter, and may result (in English) in the shifting of accent from one syllable to another.
Confidence Unconfident
Last Editor Nayoung Hong
Confidence Unconfident
Editorial Notes
Reviewed No