Figure Name paradiastole
Source Quintilian 9.3.65; Susenbrotus (1540) 45-46; Peacham (1577) N4v; Putt. (1589) 195 ("paradiastole," "curry favell"); Day 1599 84; Silva Rhetoricae (; JG Smith (1665) ("paradiastole"); Macbeth (1876); Holmes (1806) ("paradiastole"); De Mille (1882); Bullinger (1898) ("paradiastole; or, neithers and nors")
Earliest Source None
Synonyms curry favell, neithers and nors
Etymology from Gk. para, "beside" or "along" and stolee, "a sending"
Type Chroma
Linguistic Domain Semantic

1. A figure by which one extenuates something in order to flatter or soothe, or by which one refers to a vice as a virtue. (Silva Rhetoricae)

2. Distinction: a figure when we grant one thing, that we may deny another, &c.; PARADIASTOLE, Distinctio. Distinction, noting of difference, or a separating or disagreeing; derived from [paradiastello] disjungo, distinguo, to disjoyn, or distinguish. Paradiastole is a dilating or enlarging of a matter by interpretation. A figure when we grant one thing that we may deny another, and tends to the dispersing of clowds, and removing of scruples in former speeches; and to the distinguishing of like or semblable things, to which end the contrary unto the thing spoken of is sometimes added for illustrations sake. Sometimes we confess that which will not prejudice us; and this is called Paromologia. This figure Paradiastole is by some learned Rhetoricians called a faulty term of speech, opposing the truth by false terms and wrong names; as,

In calling drunkennesse good fellowship; insatiable avarice good husbandry; crast and deceit, wisdom and policie, &c. (JG Smith)

3. Multiplicity of neithers and nors, when invested with a classical title, goes by the alarming name of Paradiastole: a putting together disjunctively - a putting together so as to keep asunder; as when a bar of iron has a globe fixed at either end of the bar. The two globes are then at once joined and separated, and we perceive that a disjunctive conjunction is the most possible thing in the world. (Macbeth)

4. Paradiastole explains aright Things in an opposite and diff'rent light. (Holmes)

Things which are similar, or have something in common, are set in opposition and distinguished from one another. (De Mille)

Things which have similitude are distinguished. (De Mille)

6. The repetition of the Disjunctives Neither and Nor, or, Either and Or. (Bullinger, 257)


2. Said of a proud man: "He is confident" (JG Smith)

2. Truth may be blamed, but not shamed, &c.

Being charged that in a former speech you have brought very light reasons: you may answer;

If by [light] you mean clear; I am glad you see them;

If by [light] you mean of no weight, I am sorry you do not feel them, &c. (JG Smith)

3. Thus speaks Cicero against Verres:
"Shall neither the cries of innocence expiring in agony; nor the tears of pitying spectators; nor the majesty of the Roman commonwealth; nor the fears of the justice of his country, restrain the licentious cruelty of a monster who, in the confidence of his riches, strikes at the root of liberty, and sets mankind at defiance?" (Macbeth)

4. Virtue may be overshadowed, but not overwhelmed. (Holmes)

5. This is called "paradiastole:"
"Life only avails, not the having lived." -EMERSON.
"Eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth; blood for blood, measure for measure. Give, and it shall be given. He that watereth, shall be watered himself." (De Mille)

5. "This is called "paradiasole:"
"Knowledge and wisdom, far from being one,
Have ofttimes no connection;...
Knowledge is proud that he has learned so much,
Wisdom is humble that he knows no more." -COWPER
"True fortitude is seen in great exploits."
"'Tis Greece, but living Greece no more." -BYRON (De Mille)

6. Ex. 34:4. -"The diseased have ye not strengthened,/neither have ye healed that which was sick,/neither have ye bound up that which was broken,/neither have ye brought again that which was driven away,/neither have ye sought that which was lost." Thus are the false shepherds indicted for their unfaithfulness and neglect. (Bullinger, 258)

Kind Of Addition
Part Of
Related Figures diastole, meiosis, figures of syntax
Notes 'Chroma' because user has an underlying intention to flatter when this figure is put to use.
Confidence Unconfident
Last Editor Ioanna Malton
Confidence Unconfident
Editorial Notes Could this be a type of "Identity" or "Similarity"? - Nike After JG Smith's definition, have added "Opposition" - Nike
Reviewed No