What's it called when you switch the order of two words around, completely changing their meaning?

For example, simply childish becomes childishly simple.

Or wonderfully sarcastic becomes sarcastically wonderful.

  • possible duplicate of Is there a term for switching syllables of words? Feb 28, 2013 at 19:49
  • @coleopterist No, this one is not a dup of the question on sybbalull switching.
    – tchrist
    Mar 1, 2013 at 0:31
  • @tchrist Is the answer to this one a dupe of the answer to that one? :] Wonderfully sarcastic -> sarcastic wonderfully = switching order of two words around; Wonderfully sarcastic -> sarcastically wonderful = switching syllables between two words (more or less). Mar 1, 2013 at 3:33

1 Answer 1



is the repetition of words in successive clauses, but in transposed grammatical order (e.g., "I know what I like, and I like what I know")

  • 3
    “Then you should say what you mean,” the March Hare went on. // “I do,” Alice hastily replied; “at least — at least I mean what I say — that’s the same thing, you know.” // “Not the same thing a bit!” said the Hatter. “You might just as well say that «I see what I eat» is the same thing as «I eat what I see»!” // ... // “You might just as well say,” added the Dormouse, who seemed to be talking in his sleep, “that «I breathe when I sleep» is the same thing as «I sleep when I breathe»!” –– en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Alice's_Adventures_in_Wonderland Feb 28, 2013 at 20:24
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    You want to be careful with that; never overdo antimetabole. It can really have some serious effects on your metabolism. Feb 28, 2013 at 21:42

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