Antiphrasis originated from the Greek word antiphrasis, which means "opposite word." Antiphrasis is a figurative speech in which a phrase or word is used in the opposite way to its literal meaning, in order to create an ironic or comic effect; In simple words, it is the use of phrases or words in their opposite sense.
The following is an example of antiphrase:
“Yes, I killed him. I killed him for money, and a woman, and I didn't get the money and I didn't get the woman. It is not…? ”(Double Indemnity, by Billy Wilder and Raymond Chandler) .
Here, the speaker is making an ironic statement using the opposite sense of the word“ pretty ”. He has committed murder, but describes his act as "pretty".
Examples of Antiphrasis in Literature
Example # 1: Home of Harmony (By Philip Gulley)
Say: 'That's hilarious, Ernie. You are quite smart. 'All the time thinking to himself, you idiot. What do you know? ... Which, of course, he couldn't say out loud. He could think it, but he couldn't say it. When you are a public figure. In a small town, you have to treat people with dignity, even Ernie Matthews ... "
In this example, Owen is making fun of Ernie Matthews. He comments that Ernie is" pretty smart ", but what he really thinks inside it is the complete opposite of the literal meaning of the phrase
Example # 2: Filthy Rich (by Dorothy Samuels)
“I was awakened by the sweet tones of Frank, the morning porter, alternately yelling my name, ringing the bell and knocking on the door from my apartment ... "
Here, the actual meaning of the phrase" sweet tones "means melodious tones. In this particular situation, it is used in its opposite meaning. The speaker is trying to use irony to indicate that the doorman irritates early in the morning by yelling, ringing the bell and knocking on his door
Example # 3: Oyster Blu is (By Michael McClelland)
“He looked like a Vulcan fresh out of his forge, a misshapen giant who was not very unsure of how to maneuver in this bright new world ... his real name, the name given him by her young mother before her. he abandoned him in an orphanage in Brooklyn, he was Thomas Theodore Puglowski, but all his friends called him Tiny ... At least, Tiny guessed, they would if he had friends ... ”
In this excerpt, the writer first describes a character called Thomas Theodore Puglowski, as "a misshapen giant", and then uses the word "tiny". Examples of antiphrases like this are supposed to convey sarcasm and create a humorous effect.
Example 4: Julius Caesar (by William Shakespeare)
their color flies… ”
In these lines, Cassius makes an ironic remark, although he knows Caesar's worldly mistakes and calls him “this God” for comical and ironic effects.
Example 5: The Unknown Citizen (Von W.Auden)
“Our researchers on public opinion are satisfied
That he had the right opinions for the season;
If there was peace, he was for peace; When there was war he went.
He was married and added five children to the population,
What our eugenist says was the correct number for a parent of his generation.
And our teachers report that he never interfered in their education.
Became he free? Was he happy? The question is absurd:
If something was wrong, we should surely have heard it ... ”
This is an ironic poem based on the modern form of government and which values those citizens who abide by their rules without considering whether or not whether it is an individual citizen is happy and free or not.
Function of antiphrasis
Like other rhetorical devices, antiphrasis also brings additional meanings to a text and a situation. The use of opposite meanings of situations and statements in literature attracts the interest of readers; Furthermore, it makes literary writing more engaging and helps readers make use of their own thoughts and understand the underlying meaning of words and phrases. It is also frequently used in everyday situations and expressions, and also brings literary writing closer to real life.
Popular Literary Devices
- Ad Hominem
- Deus Ex Machina
- Double Entendre
- Flash Forward
- Half Rhyme
- Internal Rhyme
- Line Break
- Non Sequitur
- Pathetic Fallacy
- Poetic Justice
- Point of View
- Red Herring
- Tragic Flaw