Definition and Examples of Epizeuxis in Rhetoric

Glossary of Grammatical and Rhetorical Terms

"I'm having Spam, Spam, Spam, Spam, Spam, Spam, Spam, baked beans, Spam, Spam, Spam and Spam.".

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Epizeuxis is a rhetorical term for the repetition of a word or phrase for emphasis, usually with no words in between. It is pronounced ep-uh-ZOOX-sis. It is also known as: cuckowspell, doublet, geminatio, underlay, and palilogia.

In ​The Garden of Eloquence (1593), Henry Peacham defines epizeuxis as:

"A figure whereby a word is repeated, for the greater vehemence, and nothing put between: and it is used commonly with a swift pronunciation... This figure may serve aptly to expresse the vehemence of any affection, whether it be of joy, sorrow, love, hatred, admiration or any such like."

Examples of Epizeuxis 

  • "Mr. McCrindle had a sloping field. A sloping field! As if a farmer didn't have enough to worry about!" (Magnus Mills, The Restraint of Beasts. Flamingo, 1998)
  • Waitress: Shut up! Shut up! Shut up! Bloody vikings. You can't have egg, bacon, Spam and sausage without the Spam.
    Mrs. Bun: I don't like Spam!
    Mr. Bun: Shh dear, don't cause a fuss. I'll have your Spam. I love it. I'm having Spam, Spam, Spam, Spam, Spam, Spam, Spam, baked beans, Spam, Spam, Spam, and Spam." (Monty Python, the Spam sketch)
  • "I undid the lantern cautiously--oh, so cautiously--cautiously." (Edgar Allan Poe, "The Tell-Tale Heart," 1843)
  • "I love scotch. Scotchy, scotch, scotch. Here it goes down, down into my belly." (Will Ferrell in Anchorman, 2004)
  • "There's little in taking or giving,
    There's little in water or wine;
    This living, this living, this living
    Was never a project of mine."
    (Dorothy Parker, "Coda")
  • "Bad, fast! Fast! Fast! Last night I cut the light off in my bedroom, hit the switch and was in the bed before the room was dark." (Muhammad Ali, When We Were Kings, 1996)
  • "And my poor fool is hanged! No, no, no life!
    Why should a dog, a horse, a rat have life,
    And thou no breath at all? Thou'lt come no more,
    Never, never, never, never!"
    (William Shakespeare, King Lear)
  • "Phil Spector tamps his frontal lobes and closes his eyes and holds his breath. As long as he holds his breath, it will not rain, there will be no raindrops, no schizoid water wobbling, sideways, straight back, it will be an even, even, even, even, even, even, even world." (Tom Wolfe, "The First Tycoon of Teen." The Kandy-Kolored Tangerine-Flake Streamline Baby, 1965)
  • "It's a twister! It's a twister!" (Zeke in The Wizard of Oz, 1939)
  • "Strong men also cry. Strong men also cry." (The Big Lebowski in The Big Lebowski, 1998)
  • "Give me a break! Give me a break! Break me off a piece of that Kit Kat bar! (advertising jingle)
  • "I'm shocked, shocked to find that gambling is going on in here!" (Captain Renault in Casablanca, 1942)
  • "All you hear from guys is desire, desire, desire, knocking its way out of the breast, and fear, striking and striking. Enough already!" (Saul Bellow, Henderson the Rain King. Viking, 1959)
  • "For a nation which has an almost evil reputation for bustle, bustle, bustle, and rush, rush, rush, we spend an enormous amount of time standing around in line in front of windows, just waiting." (Robert Benchley, "Back in Line." Benchley--or Else! 1947)
  • Frank: Where’s the island? Where’s the island? Where the hell’s the island?
    Hurley: It’s gone.
    (“There’s No Place Like Home.” Lost, 2008)
  • "Oh you need fluff, fluff, fluff
    To make a fluffer nutter,
    Marshmallow fluff and lots of peanut butter.
    First you spread, spread, spread
    Your bread with peanut butter,
    Add marshmallow fluff and have a fluffernutter."
    (advertising jingle)
  • "All around me are familiar faces
    Worn out places, worn out faces
    Bright and early for their daily races
    Going nowhere, going nowhere."
    (Tears for Fears, "Mad World")
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Your Citation
Nordquist, Richard. "Definition and Examples of Epizeuxis in Rhetoric." ThoughtCo, Aug. 26, 2020, Nordquist, Richard. (2020, August 26). Definition and Examples of Epizeuxis in Rhetoric. Retrieved from Nordquist, Richard. "Definition and Examples of Epizeuxis in Rhetoric." ThoughtCo. (accessed April 1, 2023).