Share this entry

Share this page

tmesis

Syllabification: tme·sis
Pronunciation: /t(ə)ˈmēsəs
 
/

Definition of tmesis in English:

noun (plural tmeses /-sēz/)

The separation of parts of a compound word by an intervening word or words, heard mainly in informal speech (e.g., a whole nother story; shove it back any-old-where in the pile).
Example sentences
  • Isn't phrasal tmesis a syntactic equivalent of those ‘specious lines of play’ his books are filled with?
  • But my abso-bloody-lutely favourite way of swearing is to use bastardised tmesis - the splitting up of a compound word into parts, and then slotting a rude word in the middle.
  • A master of so many poetic devices, Humbert riddles the narrative with instances of tmesis, the figure Hartman identifies as the epitome of poetry's elided middles and overspecified ends.

Origin

mid 16th century: from Greek tmēsis 'cutting', from temnein 'to cut'.

Definition of tmesis in:

Share this entry

Share this page

 

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.

Get more from Oxford Dictionaries

Subscribe to remove adverts and access premium resources

Word of the day emulous
Pronunciation: ˈɛmjʊləs
adjective
seeking to emulate someone or something