Printable Version
Pronunciation: hen-dai-ê-dis Hear it!

Part of Speech: Noun, mass

Meaning: (Rhetoric) The expression of a single idea by two words connected by and, for instance nice and warm instead of a modifier-head phrase, such as nicely warm.

Notes: Here is the name of a rhetorical device we all commonly use. Examples include good and tired for "well tired", sound and fury for "furious sound", come and see (me) for "come to see (me)". This device is a form of emphasis; sound and fury is more emphatic than "furious sound". It is distinguished from genuine conjunction, as in "rich and famous", in that you cannot do without the pair. Thus someone rich and famous is both rich and famous, while someone who is nice and warm may not be nice.

In Play: Rather than examples using today's word, here are some examples of what this word refers to:
"I'll do it when I'm good and ready."
"Nice and easy does it."
"Our preacher warns us of fire and brimstone if we attend dances" (fiery brimstone). This preacher was an advocate of law and order, too (lawful order).

Word History: Today's word is a reduction of the Greek phrase hen dia duoin "one by means of two": hen "one" + dia "through, by means of" + duoin "(of) two". Hen seems to come from sem- "one, as one" in the Proto-Indo-European language. Initial [s] became [h] under certain circumstances in Greek. This same word became sempre "always" in Latin, as in the US Marines' motto, semper fidelis "always faithful". It became same in English and sam "self" in Russian, as in samovar "self-boiler" and samizdat "self-publishing". The Greek word for "two", duo, came from a PIE word that remained in all Indo-European langauges: Latin (and English) duo, English two, Russian dva, Hindi do, Sanskrit dve, German zwei (as in zweiback "twice baked"), French deux, Portuguese dois, Spanish dos, and Italian due.

Dr. Goodword,

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