Definition of anacoluthon in English:



  • A sentence or construction that lacks grammatical sequence, such as while in the garden, the door banged shut.

    • ‘Moreover, there is a wide range of phenomena (ranging from anacolutha to disfluencies) which are in fact specific to spoken language only.’
    • ‘This constraint shows itself in the repetition of words and phrases; in the verbal oppositions and anacolutha of St. Paul; in the short sentences of St. John.’
    • ‘He takes no thought for style, and his work is marked by frequent pleonasm, anacoluthon, etc.’
    • ‘She employed, not by way of stylistic refinement, but in order to correct her imprudences, abrupt breaches of syntax not unlike that figure which the grammarians call anacoluthon or some such name.’
    • ‘Usually, anacolutha are close enough to a grammatical construction, or can be traced back to a familiar pattern, to be understood without problem by the receptor.’
    • ‘At the beginning of the play, his agitated emotional state is reflected in his language: self-apostrophe, anacolutha etc.’
    • ‘The use of anacoluthon in his essay causes the opinion that he gives to sound more like fact and therefore even more persuasive.’
    • ‘The poem's ruins are a kind of anacoluthon in stone, a failed statement, the shattered vessels that once held the noisy social world of the noble warrior, from which the speaker is cut off and to which he cannot return.’
    • ‘For example, Plato's dialogues contain a lot of anacolutha, which would now be rejected as ungrammatical, and the same applies to Shakespeare's plays.’
    • ‘On the other hand, his style suffers from ellipses, parentheses (of which there are many), and anacolutha.’
    • ‘Such anacoluthon is usually graceful and free from obscurity.’
    • ‘Even the label ‘colloquialism’ may not be always adequate to interpret anacolutha in Cicero, as Cicero, in the dialogues, often seems to use them to represent a speaker's emphasis.’


Early 18th century: via late Latin from Greek anakolouthon, from an- not + akolouthos following.