Paronomasia, also called paranomasia, is a rhetorical stylistic device used in all literary genres. Paronomasia describes a word play, in which similar or similar words are compiled, which have partly opposite, but in any case different meanings. A special form is the Figura etymologica, which combines words of different types of words, but of the same tribe. The stylistic is also related to the polyptotone.
The term is derived from the Greek paranomasia, which is composed of para (παρά) and onoma (ὄνομα), which can be translated with and by name. It is therefore a word transformation, in order to achieve a secondary sense. On a concrete example, this looks like this:
Dear arm off as an arm
The above example is a word game. Here, the adjective arm and the noun (main word) arm are joined together in a sentence. The words sound the same for a receiver, but are not related to etymologically (word origin) and semantic (meaning). This creates a kind of word joke. Yet another example:
Haste makes waste.
The words Rush and Mouth sound almost the same. Only the first letter is different. Thus there is a paronomasia which brings together similar words which have nothing to do with semantically and etymologically. Since the two nouns also mutually exclude each other (for whoever is not able to hurry), we have in this case also an oxymoron.
[…] from the people of poets and thinkers to that of judges and executioners
This quotation goes back to Karl Kraus, an Austrian writer. The word game combines all the word pairs. The saying people of the poets and thinkers has been used since the 20th century above all to remember the great time of classical and romanticism. Kraus converts the contents by using the similar words and executioners.
Further examples of paronomas (clicks on!)
As a paronomic intensity genitive (Genitivus hebraicus) becomes a special form of paronomasia. This consists of a reference to which the genitive is formed in the plural of the same word. The genitive serves the absolute increase of the mean (cf. superlative).
If the style figure is used in this way, one could speak of an increase in the noun, which is not really possible in German. However, by the combination of the reference word and its genitive in the plural, this impression arises. Let’s take a few examples.
the king of kings.
the game of games.
the day of days.
the book of books.
the fight of the battles.
the house of houses.
All of the above examples satisfy the named features. The first word is a noun and the reference word of the following word. This is in the plural and is in the genitive. This can be checked with the question of what the genitive asks (eg, whose book is that? The Book of Books).
Short overview: The most important thing about the Stilfigur at a glance
Paronomasia is a rhetorical stylistic device. Here, similar or similar words are combined. Consequently, this is a kind of word game. The individual words have partly opposite meanings, but are not related to each other in either case etymologically or semantically.
Such a word play can have an effect, but in many cases it has a funny / funny effect. Especially when the whole thing goes out to a point. Paronomasia usually has a surprising effect and is a means of rhythmic and sonic design.
A special form of the figure is the figurea etymologica. In this case, words of the same kind, which belong to different types of words, are connected to one another (for example: playing games, fighting). However, these need not have any meaning. A connection between the two figures is the deceived deceiver.
A further special feature is the paronomatic intensity-sensitivity, which consists of a reference to which the genitive is formed in the plural of the same word. It is important that here, too, the individual words have the same meaning and do not oppose each other.