[ 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.”

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


hy·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. 2020

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