The Merism

In rhetoric, a merism is the combination of two or more contrasting words used to refer to an entirety. In other words, when used together, such contrasting words express the totality or completeness of the subject in view. To swallow something “hook, line, and sinker” means to swallow it completely. To search “high and low” means to look for something everywhere. “Lock, stock, and barrel,” referring to the different parts of a gun (as a merism), points to the whole of the object described. We sometimes say “flesh and bone” when referring to the entire body, or “young and old” when describing the entire population. A merism is a figure of speech which references the parts that comprise a whole in order to give a sense of the fullness of something else.

Jesus Christ uses this literary device in order to cause the Apostle John to better understand who He…

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