The other day the Word of the Day email from Merriam-Webster featured “hendiadys” (pronounced hen-DYE-uh-diss or hen-DEE-uh-diss), which is
the expression of an idea by the use of usually two independent words connected by the word “and.” It comes from the Greek expression “hen dia dyoin,” which literally means “one through two.”

nice and warm
good and tight
stand and deliver
vim and vigor
shock and awe

The point of using two words separated by a conjunction rather than a word with its usual modifier (nicely warm, tightened well) is to get the reader to slow down and consider two concepts rather than just one (deliver, vigor, shock). The use of a hendiadys can add either subtlety or extra oomph to the concept you are describing. Such a device turns your writing from a science into an art.

In case you ever need to use more than one hendiadys, the plural is hendiadyses.


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