Brill’s New Pauly

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(262 words)

[German version]

(from τμῆσις/tmêsis, ‘the act of cutting, separation’). An ancient term for the phenomenon of breaking up compound word forms (primarily verbal forms) by inserting or rearranging its constituents: cf. Serv. Aen. 1,412 “Figura tmesis est, quae fit, cum secto uno sermone aliquid interponimus” (“Tmesis is the rhetorical device that is formed by splitting up an expression and putting something in between”). This notion, however, does not reflect the historical linguistic development since the verb forms ancient grammarians considered as ‘standard’ had arisen …

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Plath, Robert (Erlangen), “Tmesis”, in: Brill’s New Pauly, Antiquity volumes edited by: Hubert Cancik and , Helmuth Schneider, English Edition by: Christine F. Salazar, Classical Tradition volumes edited by: Manfred Landfester, English Edition by: Francis G. Gentry. Consulted online on 28 February 2024 <>
First published online: 2006
First print edition: 9789004122598, 20110510

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