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Updated Jan 27, 2023

Understanding the Rhetorical Device of Agnomination: Enhancing Persuasion and Impact

Have you ever wondered how some speeches or written pieces manage to captivate our attention and leave a lasting impression? The answer lies in the effective use of rhetorical devices. One such powerful tool is agnomination. In this article, we will explore the concept of agnomination, its purpose, and provide accurate examples to help you understand and appreciate its impact.

What is Agnomination?

Agnomination, derived from the Greek words "agno-" meaning known and "nomen" meaning name, is a rhetorical device that involves the repetition of a person's name, specifically their surname, within a sentence or phrase. This device aims to emphasize and reinforce the importance, significance, or reputation of the individual being referred to. By intentionally repeating the name, the speaker or writer emphasizes their connection to the person, their achievements, or their qualities.

The Purpose of Agnomination

The primary purpose of using agnomination is to create a memorable and impactful effect on the audience. By repetitively mentioning a person's name, the writer or speaker aims to imprint their identity and qualities in the minds of the audience. This technique helps to establish credibility, evoke emotions, and emphasize the importance of the person being discussed. Agnomination can be employed in various forms of communication, such as speeches, essays, advertisements, or even political campaigns.

Examples of Agnomination:

Example 1: Martin Luther King Jr.

"I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: 'We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.'"

In this famous excerpt from Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I Have a Dream" speech, the repetition of the phrase "all men" emphasizes the significance and equality of every individual. By repeating the term, King emphasizes his belief in the fundamental rights and unification of all people.

Example 2: Steve Jobs

"Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart."

In this quote by Steve Jobs, the repetition of the pronoun "you" is an example of agnomination. By using this rhetorical device, Jobs emphasizes the personal connection and encourages individuals to embrace their true passions without fear of failure or loss.

Example 3: John F. Kennedy

"Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country."

This quote from John F. Kennedy's inaugural address exemplifies agnomination. By repeating the word "country" in close proximity, Kennedy emphasizes the importance of citizens' contributions to the nation, urging them to prioritize their responsibilities over personal gain.

Effectiveness and Impact

The power of agnomination lies in its ability to create a lasting impact on the audience. By emphasizing a person's name or certain terms, it helps to establish credibility, evoke emotions, and reinforce key ideas. The repetitive nature of agnomination ensures that the audience remembers the individual or concept being highlighted long after the communication has ended.


Agnomination is a powerful rhetorical device that can greatly enhance the persuasion and impact of any communication. By repetitively mentioning a person's name, agnomination establishes credibility, evokes emotions, and emphasizes the importance of the individual being referred to. Through accurate examples, we have explored the purpose and effectiveness of agnomination, enabling you to recognize and appreciate its presence in various forms of communication. So, next time you come across this rhetorical device, take a moment to appreciate the artistry and impact it carries.

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