Is there a word for using a word twice to imply something different? eg.

Are you done, or are you done done?

marked as duplicate by ermanen, choster, FumbleFingers single-word-requests Jul 17 '14 at 1:56

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  • 2
    As Peter Griffin put it in his racist joke: "White white. Not Mexican white" – Armen Ծիրունյան Jul 16 '14 at 21:44
  • I'm certain this is a duplicate. If only I could remember what the original one was called… it had some good answers. – Janus Bahs Jacquet Jul 16 '14 at 22:19
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    Do you want a single word or a single single word? Just had to ask. – GMB Jul 16 '14 at 23:17
  • @JanusBahsJacquet -- are you making a very subtle joke? (There is this.) – Malvolio Jul 17 '14 at 0:36
  • Ask Dr. Goldberg. – Malvolio Jul 17 '14 at 0:39

The doubling of a word is known as reduplication.

De Gruyter says that it is artificial to try to distinguish intensification ('a little, little grave') and attestation to the genuineness / prototypicality of an article ('coffee coffee'; 'the Woman woman' [from 'Sherlock']) so this word covers both cases. A little, little grave is a truly little grave; coffee coffee is the real thing.

  • And so would the singling of a word be duplication? – GMB Jul 16 '14 at 23:14
  • No, singling a word implies a songl. – Edwin Ashworth Jul 17 '14 at 0:00
  • More specifically, contrastive focus reduplication. – snailcar Jul 4 at 15:59
  • Yes. That's the 'coffee coffee' usage (contrasting ersatz and the real thing), not the 'little, little' or to show what's happening 'little ... little' (reinforcing) usage. So I do think it makes sense to distinguish the two. Though there are probably places ('grey grey') where they're indistinguishable. – Edwin Ashworth Jul 4 at 16:07

Doubling comes to mind.

And it is not limited to individual words, as my first and last examples below show. In addition, the repetition does not imply something different, it states it, emphatically.

The effect is to mean "really/truly" or "real/true." So the repeated word or phrase emphasis its authenticity.

Real-life examples I've heard:

At a drive through window:
One server: You need the coke right now?
Second server: I need one right now right now. ("right now," "really" right now, immediately, not two minutes from now)

In my parking lot:
Neighbor 1: Are y'all leaving now or now now?
Neighbor 2: We're leaving now now. (really and truly now, immediately, not three hours from now, not after we finish packing; we've done all that and we are ready and set to depart--any minute).

Other examples: We live in the country.
The country or the country country?
The country country, the real country, where the cows graze and the stars shine bright, and you'll be lucky to have cellular phone service.

Is she your girl friend or your girl friend girl friend? (Is she somewhat of a girl friend (e.g., a female friend) or is she someone who is actually, truly, really, a bona fides girl friend.



A figure which consists in repeating the same word in a different sense .


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    I'm fairly sure that this is not what OP means. An example of antanaclasis is:'If you don't look good, we don't look good.' (Vidal Sassoon) – Edwin Ashworth Jul 16 '14 at 22:26

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