[ hahy-pur-buh-ton ]
/ haɪˈpɜr bəˌtɒn /

noun, plural hy·per·ba·tons, hy·per·ba·ta [hahy-pur-buh-tuh] /haɪˈpɜr bə tə/. Rhetoric.

the use, especially for emphasis, of a word order other than the expected or usual one, as in “Bird thou never wert.”

Nearby words

  1. hyperaphia,
  2. hyperbaric,
  3. hyperbaric chamber,
  4. hyperbaric oxygen,
  5. hyperbarism,
  6. hyperbetalipoproteinemia,
  7. hyperbilirubinemia,
  8. hyperbola,
  9. hyperbole,
  10. hyperbolic

Origin of hyperbaton

1570–80; < Latin < Greek: transposition, literally, overstepping, derivative of neuter of hyperbatós, equivalent to hyper- hyper- + ba- (stem of baínein to walk, step) + -tos verbal adjective suffix; cf. basis

Related formshy·per·bat·ic [hahy-per-bat-ik] /ˌhaɪ pərˈbæt ɪk/, adjectivehy·per·bat·i·cal·ly, adverb

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for hyperbaton

  • Note the separation of the epithets from the nouns, and the high level of diction produced by the hyperbaton.

  • In none of these passages is ut separated from si: the hyperbaton elevates the phrase and makes more natural its use in verse.

  • Hyperbaton Transgressio, when the ryghte 31 order of wordes is troubled, & hath these kyndes.

  • It seems to be a mere normalization of the hyperbaton; the elimination of the elision (mittere ad) may have been a factor as well.

British Dictionary definitions for hyperbaton


/ (haɪˈpɜːbəˌtɒn) /


rhetoric a figure of speech in which the normal order of words is reversed, as in cheese I love

Word Origin for hyperbaton

C16: via Latin from Greek, literally: an overstepping, from hyper- + bainein to step

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for hyperbaton



1570s, "figure of speech in which the natural order of words or phrases is inverted, especially for the sake of emphasis," from Greek hyperbaton, literally "overstepping," from hyper "over" + bainein "to step" (see come).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper