Definition of repetition in English:



  • 1The action of repeating something that has already been said or written:

    ‘her comments are worthy of repetition’
    [count noun] ‘a repetition of his reply to the delegation’
    • ‘Their first writing task was to demonstrate their ability to emulate skillful use of repetition by writing a short speech modeled after those that they had just finished studying.’
    • ‘He demonstrates how repetition changes meaning over time.’
    • ‘Leigh is also renowned for his dialogue, which is consistently authentic and loaded with comic repetition and misunderstanding.’
    • ‘Over twenty-four minutes, the laborious repetition seems similar to the use of a single phrase, repeated on end, in an attempt to reach a state of heightened awareness.’
    • ‘His work has a poetic quality in its rhythmic repetition and its references to the dichotomy between nature and culture.’
    • ‘If you listen closely, you realize that it is a loop of her voice, but the message is clear: repetition can be a banal and tedious activity, especially if the end result is nowhere closer to where you'd like to be.’
    • ‘These phrases were part of his calculated repetition, and often involved the leitmotifs and correlatives already stressed in ‘earlier’ stories.’
    • ‘A torrent of repetition and gibberish pours unendingly from the mouth of a man in a clown costume in Naumann's painful, static video installation.’
    • ‘But his childish repetition of gritty details makes A Million Little Pieces not only tedious, but downright farcical in spots.’
    • ‘By its nature, as a collection of papers, there is bound to be repetition across chapters.’
    • ‘If you read a lot of Jennings's work, the poems blur into one another; there is too much repetition, too much rewriting of the same poem, too many neat little verse essays.’
    • ‘From the forced smiles and chorus-like repetition of ‘American’ to the clichéd piano player, everything to do with the play oozed Southern charm.’
    • ‘The speech is poetic and uses repetition for emphasis.’
    • ‘From the insistent repetition, one gets the impression that this is a phone call that has been made many times before and will be replayed in the future.’
    • ‘It plays out like a good stand-up comedy routine, frequently coming back to several details or situations, which get more funny through repetition and changing context.’
    • ‘Again, as the details of the story emerge, Owen employs repetition to emphasize the degree to which the characters contradict themselves, then defend themselves.’
    • ‘So the countersignature that returns to Nietzsche when he writes himself to himself validates the first by repetition.’
    • ‘Therefore, neat and concise hyphenated compound terms will be used throughout to help disentangle his various roles and avoid needless repetition and reader boredom.’
    • ‘Dickens later qualified this repetition by changing the punctuation.’
    • ‘The progress or development of style becomes temporalised within the narration encouraging viewer awareness of repetition and change.’
    repeating, echoing, parroting, quoting, copying
    reiteration, repeating, restatement, retelling, iteration, recapitulation
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    1. 1.1archaic [count noun] A piece set by a teacher to be learned by heart and recited.
  • 2[often with negative] The recurrence of an action or event:

    ‘there was to be no repetition of the interwar years’
    [count noun] ‘I didn't want a repetition of the scene in my office that morning’
    • ‘The chief innovation here is the repetition of scenes with minor but supposedly significant differences, such as moving the room around for a new angle of vision.’
    • ‘By analyzing the sources of return, however, it can be easily seen that a repetition of that historical performance is improbable.’
    • ‘Being a repetition on earlier happenings, each composition becomes imbued with a solid mass; no longer transitory, these selections are guided along a set path.’
    • ‘The body movement that has to be related to the camera movement, and is determined by the latter, separates itself, during the repetition of the scene, from the facial expression.’
    • ‘Whilst the textbook controversy could be seen as simply a repetition of previous incidents, the events of April are significant because of the scale and vehemence of the protests.’
    • ‘Specific events become only abstractions, so many rather vague repetitions of the same kind of incident.’
    • ‘Stories from the Rains of Love and Death consists of five scenes that fold into one another connected by a repetition of events and motifs.’
    • ‘Across a substance common to both, we witness repetitions of political impulses, as if the world starts with the muscle, not with the map.’
    • ‘Stein suggests that the French are more concerned with the repetitions of daily living than with the actual war.’
    • ‘The late 19th century saw a repetition of this process in the white dominions of Canada and Australasia.’
    • ‘Through this measure the chances of success against a repetition of the revolutionary movement were greatly improved.’
    • ‘Ferguson focuses his attention on the repetitions and little changes involved in the drawn-out affair that is the filming of a Hollywood scene.’
    • ‘To us, the present generation, a repetition of these events is out of the question.’
    • ‘In the repetition of the performance, we entered more deeply into the material within the therapeutic gaze and the relationship that we had established.’
    • ‘That is the experience, a heady repetition, that is immediately overwhelming, but so captivating that you are drawn to the detail.’
    • ‘I think it matches to the idea of recalling advertisement creativity is set within the economy of time and repetition of an industry.’
    • ‘Teaching solid reading skills, just as in teaching accuracy in fingering, requires many successive weekly repetitions before these are developed into skills and habits.’
    • ‘The many echoes and repetitions throughout the performances carried the audience from one movement to another.’
    • ‘The earliest series of prohibitions against this rising print culture date to the late seventeenth century, and attempt to enforce a ban on the depiction of current events through periodic repetition.’
    • ‘The double is the literary negation of personal identity and the concept of character, just as the repetition of events is the negation of time and plot.’
    recurrence, reoccurrence, repeat, rerun, replication, duplication
    View synonyms
    1. 2.1[count noun] A thing repeated:
      ‘the geometric repetitions of Islamic art’
      • ‘But the ritornello is also varied in its repetitions: there are two alternating versions, and while the instrumentation remains the same, the violins of the second ritornello play an ornamental variant of the first.’
      • ‘In verse, rhyme is opposed to rhyme, the sounds of one word are connected by repetitions with the sounds of another word and form the sound-aspect of the poem.’
      • ‘She concluded that the repetition of such images ultimately neutralizes their moral force.’
      • ‘She is deeply attached to symmetry, and thus to the repetition and change obtained when images are mirrored.’
      • ‘‘All The Nows We've Had’ is similarly upturned techno, its skipping repetitions pointing towards a stark melancholy.’
      • ‘Sound repetition and permutation, together with various graphic variants, thus governs meaning in Bergvall's poem.’
      • ‘Built from simple repetitions of geometric motifs and a limited palette of black, white, lavenders and soft pastels, they confront the viewer with a bold, graphic appeal.’
      • ‘The processes of promotion give a song repeat hearing; the processes of covering augment the repetitions manifold by its own variants.’
      • ‘Watts not only painted countless repetitions and variants in different sizes, but was a poor judge of his work.’
      • ‘On the other hand, a repetition of similar elements, which does not necessarily occur in figures, is quite essential in order to impress upon us that measured progress of time of which we here speak.’
      • ‘Immensely popular with cultivated collectors, Baschenis ran a studio which produced repetitions and variants of his works.’
    2. 2.2[count noun] A training exercise which is repeated, especially a series of repeated raisings and lowerings of the weight in weight training:
      ‘lie on your back and bench-press a light weight very quickly over ten repetitions’
      • ‘But not everyone is keen about Horvath's circles, especially Gyrotonic's reliance on weighted repetitions, which, some critics say, can cause muscle strain and unwanted bulk.’
      • ‘More repetitions using less weight defines muscles without creating bulk.’
      • ‘I recommend higher repetitions with lower weights to prevent bulking up and to preserve your line.’
      • ‘This is partially achieved by means of the complex series of repetitions - both circular and linear - and reflections and refractions that occur throughout the drama.’
      • ‘Treadmills hum and free weights rise and fall to the grunts of gym goes forcing extra repetitions while Washington talks about 12 months of events that seemed to conspire against the opening of his gym.’
    3. 2.3Music The repeating of a passage or note:
      ‘the tune is full of melodic repetition and sequence’
      • ‘There is always a melody - it is never straight note repetition.’
      • ‘Double and triple tonguing permit the non-legato execution of more rapid passages of music and facilitate the repetition of notes far more rapidly than is possible with single tonguing.’
      • ‘Often homophonic in texture and solemn in style, it tends to focus on a limited set of harmonic colors in each piece, a repetition that creates a grand sense of stasis and allows the text to be heard.’
      • ‘About 1500, composers adopted the practice of paired imitation and through imitation, the repetition of short melodic passages in two voices or in all parts.’
      • ‘An integral component of McCabe's music is repetition, be it notes, rhythm, or textures.’


Late Middle English: from Old French repeticion or Latin repetitio(n-), from repetere (see repeat).