parenthesis  parenthesis
 par-en'-the-sis from Gk. para, "beside" and thesis, "placing"
interposicion, insertour

Insertion of a verbal unit that interrupts normal syntactical flow.

The garrulous Polonius from Hamlet can't help but interrupt himself as he speaks to King Claudius about Prince Hamlet's behavior toward his daughter, adding a parenthesis to his own parenthesis:

But what might you think,
When I had seen this hot love on the wing—
As I perceiv'd it (I must tell you that)
Before my daughter told me—what might you,
Or my dear Majesty your queen here, think...?

—Shakespeare, Hamlet 2.2.131-35

Related Figures

See Also

  Sources: Quintilian 9.3.23; Bede 614;Melanch. IR d3v ("interpositio" "parenthesis"); Vives ("parenthesis," "interpositio") 119; Sherry (1550) 31 ("parenthesis," "interpositio," "interposicion"); Suarez ("interpretatio" [erroneous reading of Quintilian's "interpositio"]); Peacham (1577) F4v; Putt. (1589) 180 ("parenthesis," "insertour"); Day 1599 83

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Gideon O. Burton, Brigham Young University
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