This post is part of a series on rhetoric and rhetorical devices. For other posts in the series, please click this link.
Origin: From the Greek διακοπή (thiakhopi), meaning “cut in two”.
In plain English: Repetition of a word or phrase broken up by another word or words.
- The repeated words are emphasized.
- For maximum effect, there should not be too many words between the repeated word(s) in a diacope.
- Diacope is similar to epanalepsis. In the latter, the repeated words are at the beginning and end of a sentence. The last quote, by Denzel Washington, is both a diacope and epanalepsis.
“They will laugh, indeed they will laugh, at his parchment and his wax.”
— Edmund Burke, 1796
“Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.”
— Leo Tolstoy, Anna Karenina, 1877
“Free at last! Free at last! Thank God, Almighty, we are free at last!“
— Martin Luther King, Jr., 28 August 1963
“The people everywhere, not just here in Britain, everywhere — they kept faith with Princess Diana. They liked her, they loved her, they regarded her as one of the people. She was the people’s princess. And that’s how she will stay, how she will remain, in our hearts and in our memories, forever.”
— Tony Blair, 31 August 1997
“Scut Farkus! What a rotten name! We were trapped. There he stood between us and the alley. Scut Farkus staring out at us with his yellow eyes. He had yellow eyes! So help me, God! Yellow eyes!”
— Ralphie in A Christmas Story (1983)
“Don’t turn away from the truth. Don’t turn away from your conscience. Please don’t ignore the law; no, embrace that higher principle for which the law was meant to serve. Justice—that’s all I ask—justice.”
— Denzel Washington in The Hurricane (1999)