I'm looking for an English word I read a while ago, describing a statement having the same meaning as the way it is presented in.

Example: The statement is that existence is uncertainty and the way it is presented in makes you feel uncertain/ shows how uncertain existence is.


3 Answers 3


Self-referential is the obvious choice. For single words, you can also use autological.

  • While pretty close to what I'm looking for, it is not quite a hit. You couldn't really call the example above self-referential. Self-referential requires a concept to be part of the set it describes, while I'm looking for the situation that both the form and the content make the same statement about something possibly outside of themselves. Jul 24, 2018 at 12:23
  • 1
    Performative expressions, perhaps? Jul 24, 2018 at 12:33
  • Or you could bring the word inductive to bear: The inductive phrase induces the thing it describes. Jul 24, 2018 at 12:37

Literal is what you are looking for.

From Wiktionary:

Exactly as stated; read or understood without additional interpretation; according to the letter or verbal expression; real; not figurative or metaphorical.

Following the letter or exact words; not free; not taking liberties.


Onomatopeia comes to mind, especially definition 3 here:

  • the use of imitative and naturally suggestive words for rhetorical, dramatic, or poetic effect.

Adjective forms

  • onomatopoeic
  • onomatopoetic

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