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See also: Aprosdoketon


Alternative forms[edit]


From Ancient Greek ἀπροσδόκητος (aprosdókētos, unexpected).


  • (US, with Grecian stress): IPA(key): /ˌæp.ɹəsˈdɑ.kɪˌtɑn/
  • (file)
  • (US, with Latinate stress): IPA(key): /əˌpɹɑs.dəˈkiˌtɑn/
  • (file)


aprosdoketon (plural aprosdoketons or aprosdoketa)

  1. A figure of speech where an expected word in an idiom is replaced unexpectedly by an unusual one, as in Rome wasn't built in a teacup.
    • 1997, T. Tarkow, Theognis 237–254: A Reexamination, in Quaderni urbinati di cultura classica 26, quoted in Roman Constructions (Don Fowler, 2000), [1]:
      Is the poet saying "I do not chance on even a slight respect from you" or "I chance on a good amount of respect from you," a meaning which effectively postpones the aprosdoketon to the final line[?]
  2. (by extension) Any surprising use or interpretation of language.
    • 2000, Gonda A. H. Van Steen, Venom in Verse[2]:
      In later restagings of the Thesmophoriazusae, as in the 1959 Frogs, Euripides made his appearance driving a motorcycle. This scenic aprosdoketon was, of course, an ingenious verbal and visual pun on the word mechane and its different meanings in ancient and modern Greek: "stage crane" and "motorbike," respectively.