adianoeta adianoeta

An expression that, in addition to an obvious meaning, carries a second, subtle meaning (often at variance with the ostensible meaning).
In the following example, what is meant is that a man tore his own limbs with his teeth. This is hinted at obscurely (if at all) in the phrase meant to communicate this:
The man laid upon himself
Related Figures
  • irony
    Adianoeta is a kind of irony, since it uses terms that imply a different meaning than they denote; however, adianoeta counts on carrying both its meanings, playing off how different audiences will understand the same locution (one, literally; the other, ironically).
  • allegory
    Like adianoeta, allegory employs both the surface meaning or literal use of words as well as the symbolic meanings of words.
  Sources: Quint. 8.2.20

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Gideon O. Burton, Brigham Young University
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