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   Sometimes a “new word” rushes into our experience that we shouldn’t have missed (but did).

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” merism 

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   We consider this one of those words that’s more easily understood by first showing an example:

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Roger searched high and low for his keys.

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   ["High and low" is a merism.]

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For more use the DOOR.

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[MORE]

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   Our Oxford for some reason isn’t friendly to this word. But other places are.

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   merism – (n)  A figure of speech by which  single thing is referred to by a conventional phrase that enumerates several of its parts, or which lists several synonyms for the same thing.

   Or, to say it a little differently, in rhetoric it’s (often) a combination of two contrasting words that refer to an entirety.

   Ex: “Lock, stock, and barrel” refers to important parts of a gun. But, now, referring to more than a gun, the phrase refers to “the whole thing” or “everything.” Since Rosemary refused to pay her rent, she was was thrown out of her apartment lock, stock, and barrel.

   Of particular note, there are poetic Biblical merisms:

   Gen. 1:1  “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.  (or everything)

   Gen. 1:5  “…there was evening and morning the first day.”  (or a “day”)

   Psa 139 (KJV)   God knows “my downsitting and my uprising.”  (or everything about me)

    It is important to recognize not only in the Bible, but in everyday speech, the use of merisms and other kinds of metaphor are common ways of expressing factual information as well as feelings and wonder [in spite of your computer underlining the m-word in red].

   And often, it seems, the best–and most effective–way…