Want to pack more punch than a metaphor provides? Consider hypocatastasis

Metaphors and similes are figures of speech used to add flair and/or humor to a phrase. These popular rhetorical devices are all well and good, but sometimes you just need to get to the point; enter hypocatastasis.

Hypo is derived from the Greek “under,” cata comes from the Ancient Greek kata, meaning “down from, or down to,’ and stasis is Greek for “standing still.”

Linguistically, both a hypocatastasis and a metaphor imply a resemblance, representation or comparison. However, hypocatastasis packs more of a punch than a metaphor because the former uses only one noun, (the other noun is implied), while the latter uses two nouns. For example, “You are a rockstar!” is a metaphorical phrase because two nouns are present – “you” and “rockstar.” If you simply said “rockstar!” – the “you,” or object, is implied, therefore creating a hypocatastasis.

Hypocatastasis is common in the Bible. For example, when Satan is simply referred to as a “serpent;” the serpent/Satan comparison is implied, thus a hypocatastasis.

Help us think of other examples of this useful and infrequent figure of speech, both in classic literature and popular culture. Let us know, below.

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