Scesis Onomaton (skee'-sis-ah-no-maw-ton): Figure of repetition in which a set of two or more different words having the same (or very nearly the same) meaning occurs within the same sentence; a successive series of words or phrases whose meanings are generally equivalent.

Ex: "America is all about opportunity.  That's why my parents came to America more than 40 years ago. And that's why most of your parents came here generations ago in search of an opportunity, a chance, a fair shake."

-- Bobby Jindal, Second Gubernatorial Inaugural Address

Further Examples

Mr. Praline: "Look, matee, this parrot wouldn't "voom" if I put 4000 volts through it. It's bleeding demised!"

Shopkeeper: "It's not. It's -- It's pining!"

Mr. Praline: "It's not pining! It's passed on! This parrot is no more! It has ceased to be! It's expired and gone to meet its maker! This is a late parrot!! It's a stiff! Bereft of life, it rests in peace! If you hadn't nailed it to the perch it would be pushing up the daisies! It's run down the curtain and joined the choir invisible!! This is an EX-PARROT!"

Shopkeeper: "Well, I'd better replace it, then."

-- delivered by John Cleese and Michael Palin, from Monty Python's, Dead Parrot Sketch

"Ah sinful nation, a people laden with iniquity, a seed of evildoers, children that are corrupters: they have forsaken the Lord, they have provoked the Holy One of Israel unto anger, they are gone away backward."

-- Isaiah 1:4, KJV (delivered by Max McLean)

"Let there be no illusions about the difficulty of forming this kind of a national community. It's tough, difficult, not easy. But a spirit of harmony will survive in America only if each of us remembers that we share a common destiny."

-- Barbara Jordan, 1976 DNC Keynote Address

Finnegan O'Neil: "Why are you in a wheelchair?"

Monte Wildhorn: "Can you keep a secret?"

Finnegan O'Neil: "Even if they torture me."

Monte Wildhorn: "I'm attempting to defraud the Liberty Mutual Insurance conglomerate out of a million dollars."

Finnegan O'Neil: "What's 'defraud?'"

Monte Wildhorn: "Cheat. Snooker. Fleece. Bamboozle."

Finnegan O'Neil: "So, you can walk?"

Monte Wildhorn: "I can run. But I have to be careful. I mean, if those Liberty Mutual boys catch me while I'm out for a quick jog, it's all over. I can kiss that million bucks goodbye and say hello to Yuma State Prison."

Finnegan O'Neil: "You could go to jail?"

Monte Wildhorn: "Oh, yeah. But, what's jail? As John Milton once said, 'The mind is its own place.'"

-- delivered by Morgan Freeman and Emma Fuhrmann (from the movie The Magic of Belle Isle)

"Every time you break the seal on that liquor bottle, that's a Government seal you're breaking! Oh, I say and I say it again, ya been had! Ya been took! Ya been hoodwinked! Bamboozled! Led astray! Run amok! This is what He does."

-- delivered by Denzel Washington (from the movie Malcolm X)

"In Isaiah [9:6]: 'For to us a Child is born, to us a Son is given, and the government will be on His shoulders. And He will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.'"

-- Mike Harper, KVNE Radio (Tyler, TX)
Note: Can you spot the asyndeton?

"But four years ago Jimmy Swaggart said this about me. He said, 'This here song by The Police, ''Murder by Numbers'', was written by Satan, performed by the Sons of Satan -- Beelzebub, Lucifer, The Horned One.'" 

-- Sting (live with Frank Zappa in Concert)

"I object to those stories that say I'm a lame duck. I'm not a lame duck. I'm a sprinting duck. I'm a hustling duck. I'm a "leadership of the free world" duck. And I'm continuing to spread our agenda globally, and around the world, as well as internationally."

-- George W. Bush, 2006 White House Correspondents' Dinner

Dr. Stantz: "You don't know what it's like out there. I've worked in the private sector. They expect results."

Dr. Venkman: "For whatever reasons, Ray, call it fate; call it luck; call it karma. I believe that everything happens for a reason. I believe that we were destined to get thrown out of this dump."

Dr. Stantz: "For what purpose?"

Dr. Venkman: "To go into business for ourselves."

-- delivered by Bill Murray and Dan Akroyd (from the movie Ghost Busters)

Note: Can you spot the anaphora?

"Friends. Countrymen. Russians!"

-- delivered by Rade Serbedzija (from the movie The Saint)

Louis: "Hey, uh, where’s your phone?"

Outback Bartender: "Around near the dunnies."

Louis: "You guys have a Denny’s?"

Outback Bartender: "No, the dunny. The bog trough? The long drop? The thunderbox?"

Louis: "You know what, um, I’m just gonna look for it by the bathroom."

-- delivered by Anthony Anderson & Emma Jane Fowler (from the movie Kangaroo Jack)

C.J. Cregg: "One other thing."

Sam Seaborn: "Are we done?"

C.J. Cregg: "No, Sam, when I say 'one other thing' that means that we're not done, that there's one-other-thing. I'm your first phone call."

Sam Seaborn: "When?"

C.J. Cregg: "Before. Now. In the future. Any time you're into something and you don't know what -- and you can't tell me that you thought there was nothing to it 'cause you sat down with Josh and you sat down with Toby. Any time you're into something and you don't know what, you don't keep if from me. I'm your first phone call. I'm your first line of defense. You have to let me protect you, and you have to let me protect the President."

Sam Seaborn:" Is that what this is about?"

C.J. Cregg: "What this is about, Sam, is you're a high profile, very visible, much noticed member -- "

Sam Seaborn: "You just said three things that all mean the same thing."

 C.J. Cregg: "You're not going to let this out of your teeth?"

Sam Seaborn: "Can I go now, C.J, because what I think it's about is you. Once again, letting the character cops win in a forfeit because you don't have the guts or the strength or the courage to say, 'We know what's right from wrong and this none of your damn business!'"

 C.J. Cregg: "Really?"

 Sam Seaborn: "Yes!"

 C.J. Cregg: "You just said three things that all mean the same thing."

-- delivered by Allison Janey and Rob Lowe (from the TV series The West Wing, Season 1, Episode 3)

"There is no room in this country for any flag except our own. There is no room for the red flag. It is opposed to everything our government stands for. It stands for anarchy, chaos, and ruin. Smash it."

-- Leonard Wood

Note: Can you spot the anaphora and the anadiplosis?

Alice: You're going to be very happy. Mrs. Martin is a lovely woman."

Greg Brady: "She's outta sight, Dad."

Peter Brady: "Groovy."

Bobby Brady: I think she's neato.

Mike Brady: "Well, that makes it unanimous. I think she's pretty special, myself."

-- delivered by Ann B. Davis, Barry Williams, Christopher Knight, Mike Lookinland, & Robert Reed (from the TV series, The Brady Bunch, Ep. 1)

"Because he's the hero Gotham deserves, but not the one it needs right now. So, we'll hunt him...because he can take it...because he's not our hero. He's a Silent Guardian, a Watchful Protector, a Dark Knight."

-- delivered by Gary Oldman (from the movie The Dark Knight)

Rhetorical Figures in Sound

Online Speech Bank

© Copyright 2001-Present. 
American Rhetoric.
Created by Michael E. Eidenmuller.
All rights reserved.