Siamese twins or binomials are pairs of expressions which are often conjoined. For example:

  • back and forth
  • ebb and flow
  • near and far
  • better or worse
  • do or die

Is there is a name for the rhetorical device of swapping their order? For example:

  • forth and back
  • flow and ebb
  • far and near
  • worse or better
  • die or do

One might call this device reversal or inversion, but I am wondering if there's a specific name. I couldn't find anything in Landman's Handlist of Rhetorical Terms or on web lists.

EDIT: I don't think it counts as epanados since the words have not already (by hypothesis) been introduced in their standard order.

  • 4
    monibials? tiamese swins?
    – JMP
    Jan 6, 2016 at 16:48
  • 1
    This reversal of irreversibles should fall under the more general rhetorical devices of catechresis and/or [solecism]( en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solecism). I don't think your concept has its own name since it is so rare.
    – Mitch
    Jan 6, 2016 at 16:55
  • 1
    Conjoined together?
    – deadrat
    Jan 6, 2016 at 17:15
  • 3
    Hmm, anastrophe? Anastrophic binomial transposition?
    – Dan Bron
    Jan 6, 2016 at 17:34
  • 2
    'But these aren't really trespasses on semantics or grammar, which rules out catechresis and solecism, respectively.' It's non-idiomaticity. Which can be equally unacceptable. Jan 6, 2016 at 17:43

1 Answer 1




a generic term for changing the normal or expected order of words.

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