Figure Name homoioptoton
Source Silva Rhetoricae (http://humanities.byu.edu/rhetoric/Silva.htm); Ad Herennium 4.20.28 ("similiter cadens"); Quinitilian 9.3.78; Isidore 1.36.15; Sherry (1550) 58 ("homioptoton," "similiter cadens"); Peacham (1577) K1v ; JG Smith (1665) ("homoeoptoton"); Ad Herennium 299-300; Garrett Epp (1994) ("similiter cadens," "homoeoptoton"); Vinsauf (1967)("similiter cadens"); Bullinger (1898) ("homoeoptoton: or, like inflections"); Vickers (1989) ("homoeoptoton")
Earliest Source None
Synonyms homeoeptoton, similiter cadens, like inflections, homeoptoton, homoeoptoton
Etymology from Gk. homoios, "like" and ptosis, "case" or "a falling," which in grammar means an "inflection"
Type Scheme
Linguistic Domain Phonological

1. The repetition of similar case endings in adjacent words or in words in parallel position. (Silva Rhetoricae)

2. Homeoptoton of the Latines is called Similiter cadens, and it is a figure which endeth diverse clauses with like cases, but in respect of the English tongue which is not varied by cases, we may call it setting of diverse nownes in one sentence which ende alike with the same letter or same syllable. (Peacham)

3. Falling out alike: a figure whereby divers clauses end with the same letter or syllable.; Homoeoptoton, similiter cadens, similes casus habens, falling out alike, or having cases alike: derived from [ptoo] cado, to fall out or happen, and [homoies] similiter, alike. It is a Rhetorical Exornation whereby in the Latine tongue divers clauses end with like cases: But in respect of the English, which is not varied by Cases, it may be called, setting of divers Nounes in one sentence which end alike, with the same letter or syllable. (JG Smith)

4. Occurs when in the same period two or more words appear in the same case, and with like terminations. (Ad Herennium)

5. Two or more words with the same case endings, within one period (see continuatio). (Garrett Epp)

6. 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)

7. The endings are ... similar, [and] the similarity arises from the same inflections of verbs or nouns, etc. It will be seen, therefore, that this figure belongs peculiarly to the Original language and cannot always be transferred in translation. (Bullinger, 187)

8. Homoioptoton (or similiter cadens), where corresponding words (often at
the end of a sequence of clauses or sentences) have similar case endings (not possible in uninflected languages). (Vickers 495)


1. From the Carmina Burana comes this extended example of homoioptoton.
Quod Spiritu David precinuit
nunc exposuit
nobis Deus et sic innotuit:
Sarracenus sepulchrum polluit,
quo recubuit
qui pro nobis crucifixus fuit
dum sic voluit
mortem pati cruce, nec meruit!
Note: Since this figure only works with inflected languages, it has often been conflated with homoioteleuton and (at least in English) has sometimes become equivalent to simple rhyme: "To no avail, I ate a snail" (Silva Rhetoricae)

2. He came into Cilicia, and then spied out Africa: and after that came with his armie into Sardinia. (Peacham)

2. In activitie commendable, in a commonwealth profitable, and in warre terrible. (Peacham)

2. Art thou in povertie? seeke not principality, but rather how to relaeve thy necessitie. (Peacham)

2. Let God be worshipped the king obeyed, & thy parents honored. (Peacham)

4. "Hominem laudem egentem virtutis, abundantem felicitatis?" (Ad Herennium)

4. "Huic omnis in pecunia spes est, a sapientia est animus remotus; diligentia conparat divitias, neglegentia corrumpit animum, et tamen, cum ita vivit, neniinern prae se ducit
hominem." (Ad Herennium)

5. ... and ek his moder dere,

His bretheren and his sustren, gonne hym freyne .... (Troylus 5.1227 qtd. in Garrett Epp)

3. In activity commendable, in a Commonwealth profitable, and in war terrible. (JG Smith)

6. For virtue is most excellent (optima) of all things, vice (vitium) is the worst (pessima) of things - nothing is so pernicious (perniciosum). (Vinsauf)

7. "Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep." -Rom. 12:15 Here the inflections of the infinitive and particles necessarily go together in the Greek though, of course, not in English. "Chair ein meta chairon ton. Klai ein meta klaion ton." The two lines likewise each exhibit an example of Poylptinon, and also of Homoropropheron. The figure may be reproduced in English thus:- "Be cheerful with those that are glad, Be tearful with those that are sad." (Bullinger, 188)

8. Veni, vidi, vici. (Vickers 495)

Kind Of Repetition
Part Of
Related Figures homoioteleuton, antiptosis, figures of repetition, figures of parallelism, figures of conjunction
Notes Note from Garrett Epp: similiter cadens and similiter desinens are often used together;
 in English, since case forms have disappeared, the two terms are sometimes used loosely to mean rhymed endings. -nayoung
Confidence Unconfident
Last Editor Daniel Etigson
Confidence Unconfident
Editorial Notes
Reviewed No