Rhetorical Device: Mesodiplosis

Mesodiplosis is a rhetorical device that involves the repetition of a word or phrase within a sequence of clauses or sentences. It is also known as 'middle repetition'.

Like most types of repetition used in oratory, mesodiplosis adds rhythm to a section of the speech. It assists the audience in recognizing that one segment is more important than others because they can feel the rhythm and understand that it was done on purpose. The repetition also aids the audience's memory by committing the message to memory.


We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed;
We are perplexed, but not in despair:
Persecuted, but not forsaken;
Cast down, but not destroyed. Holy Bible, "Second Epistle to the Corinthians 4:8-9"

My lord, I must confess I know this woman,
And five years since there was some speech of marriage
Betwixt myself and her, which was broke off,
Partly for that her promised proportions
Came short of composition, but in chief
For that her reputation was disvalued
In levity. Since which time of five years
I never spake with her, saw her, nor heard from her,
Upon my faith and honor. William Shakespeare, "Measure for Measure Act 5 Scene 1"
WWS rhetorical device explainer card on mesodiplosis

Mesodiplosis is often used with parallelism, particularly with isocolon, of which tricolon is a variant.

For my part, I want to finish with a simple thank you to New Zealanders for giving me this opportunity to serve, and to take on what has and will always be the greatest role in my life.
I hope in return I leave behind a belief that you can be kind, but strong. Empathetic, but decisive. Optimistic, but focused.
That you can be your own kind of leader – one that knows when it’s time to go. Jacinda Ardern, "Resignation Speech" (19 January 2023)

Loyalty is a sentiment, not a law. It rests on love, not on restraint. The government of Ireland by England rests on restraint, and not on law; and since it demands no love, it can evoke no loyalty. Roger Casement, "Speech From The Dock" (29 June 1916)

Further reading

  • MyShakespeare.me: Mesodiplosis Visit
  • Silva Rhetoricæ: The Forest of Rhetoric Visit