Definition of hyperbaton in English:



  • An inversion of the normal order of words, especially for the sake of emphasis, as in the sentence “this I must see.”

    • ‘Likewise, Lucan uses hyperbaton to suggest Erictho's agitation, as she threatens to reveal Persephone's darkest secrets.’
    • ‘A couple of hyperbatons here and there can help create more suspense.’
    • ‘The use of the poetic device hyperbaton, or inverted word order, is a form of repetition that sets the mood for the rest of the section.’
    • ‘That's an original idea, toss out SVO syntax and let the hyperbatons roll!’
    • ‘The prose of Marías wraps long sentences and hyperbatons in a more torrid embrace than ever in his reiterations.’


Mid 16th century: via Latin from Greek huperbaton overstepping (from huper over, above + bainein go, walk).