Synesis: Definition and Examples

Synesis is a rhetorical device which consists by adapting the construction to the sense of a word, rather than to its grammatical syntaxOpens in new window.

An orator who chooses to construct a sentence or make an expression based on the intended meaning, rather than putting such expression in agreement with grammatical rules, is practically putting the device, synesis, into effect.

It is a strict rule in orthodox grammatical syntax that a plural subject gets a plural verb (by the way, you can learn all about subject verb agreement hereOpens in new window).

However, there are cases, where in our expression, we speak of more than one object, as though we are speaking of a singular object; this is where the device, synesis comes into play, as in the example below (notice the subject ‘wages’ gets an s-ending verb ‘is’ instead of the normal non s-ending verb [are]):

  1. “For the wages of sin is death.”

    — Romans 6:23

  • Share

Recommended Books to Flex Your Knowledge