period periodos
  from Gk. periodos “going around, course”

ambitus, circumductum, continuatio, conclusio, hirmus
long loose
The periodic sentence, characterized by the suspension of the completion of sense until its end. This has been more possible and favored in Greek and Latin, languages already favoring the end position for the verb, but has been approximated in uninflected languages such as English.
Note the long delay prior to the occurrence of the sentence's main verb ("sing"):

Of man's first disobedience and the fruit
Of that forbidden tree, whose mortal taste
Brought death into the world, and all our woe,
With loss of Eden, till one greater Man
Restore us, and regain the blissful seat,
Sing Heav'nly Muse...

—John Milton, Paradise Lost

Related Figures

Sources: Ad Herennium 4.19.27 ("continuatio"); Quintilian 9.4.22 ("ambitus, circumductum, continuatio, conclusio"); Isidore 1.36.18 ("hirmos") ; Vives ("periodus") 117-119.

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Gideon O. Burton, Brigham Young University
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