Figure Name polysyndeton
Source Silva Rhetoricae (http://humanities.byu.edu/rhetoric/Silva.htm); Quintilian ("acervatio"); Rutil. 1.14; Isidore; Peacham (1593); Puttenham (1589) ("polisindeton," "couple clause"); Day 1599; JG Smith (1665) ("polysyndeton"); Macbeth (1876); Gibbons (1767) 236 ("polysyndeton"); De Mille (1882); Holmes (1806) ("polysyndeton"); Raub (1888) 221; Bullinger (1898) ("poylsyndeton; or, many-ands"); Johnson (1903) ("polysyndeton"); Norwood (1742) ("polysyndeton"); Vickers (1989) ("polysyndeton")
Earliest Source None
Synonyms polysyntheton, polisindeton, polysindeton, acervatio, couple clause, many-ands, superfluity of ands
Etymology Gk. poly- "many" and syndeton "bound together with"
Type Scheme
Linguistic Domain Syntactic

1. Employing many conjunctions between clauses, often slowing the tempo or rhythm. (Silva Rhetoricae)

2. Polysindeton is a figure which knitteth together the parts of an oration with may conjunctions, contrarily to that above. (Peacham)

2. This figure hath the most speciall respect to knit many things of like nature together, and to distinguish and separate contrary matters asunder, and for this cause it may be called the chaine of speech, forasmuch as every chaine hath a conjunction of matter, and a distinction of linkes. (Peacham)

3. Polysyndeton diversly and many ways coupled by Conjunctions: a figure signifying superfluity of conjunctions, &c.; POLYSYNDETON, varie & multipliciter conjunctum, diversly and many wayes joyned or coupled together: derived from [polu multum, valde, very much, and [syndetos] conjunctus, joyned together. A figure signifying superfluity of conjunctions, and is when divers words are for their weightinesse, (and not without an Emphasis) knit together with many copulatives. (JG Smith)

4. Polysyndeton is our next figure, or Superfluity of Ands. All birds have two wings, so has the mind figures in contrasted pairs. Asyndeton assures us of polysyndeton - a proof and illustration, running through our whole wide theme, that we are studying the habits of a creature that soars. (Macbeth)

5. "as the Asyndeton drops, so the Polysyndeton on the contrary abounds with conjunctive particles." (Gibbons)

Another form of pleonastic figures is found when conjunctions are used to an unusual degree. This is called polysyndeton. (De Mille)

7. In Polysyndeton conjunctions flow, And ev'ry word its cop'lative must show. (Holmes)

8. "the repetition of connectives" (Raub)

9. The repetition of the word "and" at the beginning of successive clauses. (Bullinger, 221)

10. Polysyn'deton.—This figure is the reverse of asyndeton, as it consists in a repetition of connectives. (Johnson, 223-224)

11. POLYSYNDETON. Polysyndeton, derived from the Greek, (polu,) multum, and (fundetos,) conjunctus. This Figure is contrary to the former, and very often employs the copulative, to tie and join words together. See 1 Cor. 13. 1, 2, 3. Though I speak with the tongues of men and angels, and have no charity, I am becoming as founding brass, or a tinkling cymbal; and though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge, &c. where the copulative and is not inelegantly so often used, though the ear is the best judge of the harmony of sounds, when it is proper to use it, or lay it aside. (Norwood, 105)

12. Polysyndeton (or acervatio), the profusion of connecting particles between clauses. (Vickers 497)


1. I said, "Who killed him?" and he said, "I don't know who killed him but he's dead all right," and it was dark and there was water standing in the street and no lights and windows broke and boats all up in the town and trees blown down and everything all blown and I got a skiff and went out and found my boat where I had her inside Mango Key and she was all right only she was full of water.
—Ernest Hemingway, "After the Storm." (Silva Rhetoricae)

2. He was both an enemie to his countrey, and a traitor to his Prince, and a contemner of lawes, and a subverter of cities. (Peacham)

2. Where abode both Peter, and James, and John and Andrew. (Evangelist Luke in Act. qtd. in Peacham)

2. For I am sure that neither death, neither life, neither things to come, neither height, neither dept, neither any pther creature shall be able to separate us from the love of God. (Apostle Paul in Rom.8. qtd. in Peacham)

2. Ye observe dayes, and moneths, and times, and yeares. (Peacham)

3. Overmuch sleep also, and wine, and banquets, and queans, and bathes enervate and enfeeble the body and minde.

He was both an enemie to his countrey, and a betrayer of his trust, and a contemner of the good laws, and a subverter of the peoples liberties and immunities. (JG Smith)

4. "Groans, and convulsions, and discolor'd faces;
Friends weeping around us; plumes and obsequies;
Make it dreadful thing to die. The pomp of death
Is far more terrible than death itself."
- Nathaniel Lee (Macbeth)

5. "Virgil will also furnish us with an example of the same Figure; 'The African bears with him all his wealth, / And house, and household gods, and armed force, / And trusty dog, and quiver fledg'd with darts.'" (Gibbons)

7. Fear, and joy, and hatred, and love seized the mind by turns. (Holmes)

8. "for I am persuaded that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God." (Raub)

9. Gen. 8:22. - Here the completeness of the covenant and the fulness of the blessing, and the certainty of the Divine promise, is set forth in a double four-fold description:- "While the earth remaineth, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter and day and night, shall not cease." (Bullinger, 223)

10. The following sentence, from John Lingard's History of England, Volume X, Chapter 3, with its repetition of the conjunction that, is an
example: "They contended that not one of the offenses alleged against him amounted to high treason; that their number could not change their quality; that an endeavor to subvert the law, or religion, or the rights of parliament, was not treason by any statute; and that the description of an offense so vague and indeterminate ought never to be admitted." The first twelve verses of the second chapter of the Acts of the Apostles contain examples of polysyndeton. (Johnson, 224)

11. Rom. 8. 38, 39. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God. I place this instance under this Figure; but if you think it rather belongs to Dialyton, nor being a disjunctive particle; because you are my friend, I will not stand with you for so small a matter. (Norwood, 105)

11.See Psal. 18. 2. The Lord is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer: the copulative and, makes the sense pass on more leisurely, and so the words still make a deeper impression upon the mind. (Norwood, 106)

12. Then, in the blazon of sweet beauty's best,
Of hand, of foot, of lip, of eye, of brow,
I see their antique pen would have express'd
Even such a beauty as you master now.
--Shakespeare, "Sonnet 106" (Vickers 497)

Kind Of Series
Part Of
Related Figures asyndeton, periodic sentence, figures of grammar, figures of repetition, figures of conjunction, acervatio, figures of syntax, pleonasm
Confidence Unconfident
Last Editor Daniel Etigson
Confidence Unconfident
Editorial Notes Moved "acervatio" from "Part of" to "Related Figs". - Nike
Reviewed No