Reduplicative phrases in English

Reduplicative phrases in English

Created:25 Apr 2024 02:08:59 , in  advanced

In English, there exists a group of fairly common two-word constructions that are characterized by the repetition of a somewhat similar or even identical sound in the second word. This repetition creates a rhythmic, sometimes playful effect. The constructions are known as "reduplicative phrases" or "rhyming reduplications" and are most often found in informal or colloquial language, everyday conversations, children's literature, advertising slogans and other creative contexts, where they contribute to the richness and expressiveness of language.

Here are some examples of popular reduplicative phrases:

  • hanky-panky - refers to deceitful or improper behaviour,

  • hoity-toity - refers to pretentious or snobbish behaviour,

  • higgledy-piggledy - refers to a disorganized or chaotic arrangement,

  • artsy-fartsy - describes someone who is overly artistic or pretentious about their artistic taste,

  • razzle-dazzle - describes a flashy or showy display,

  • bibbity-bobbity - often used in fairy tales or magic spells to convey a sense of whimsy,

  • boogie-woogie - a style of upbeat and rhythmic jazz music,

  • fuddy-duddy - describes someone who is old-fashioned or conservative,

  • nitty-gritty - refers to the most important or fundamental aspects of something,

  • dilly-dally - means to waste time or procrastinate,

  • mumbo-jumbo - refers to meaningless or confusing language, often associated with superstition or mysticism,

  • pitter-patter - describes the sound of light, rapid footsteps or raindrops,

  • hanky-panky - suggests secretive or underhanded behaviour, especially in a romantic context,

  • fiddle-faddle - means trivial or nonsensical talk, similar to "nonsense" or "foolishness",

  • topsy-turvy - indicates a state of confusion or disorder, where things are turned upside down,

  • splish-splash - mimics the sound of water splashing or splattering,

  • hocus-pocus - often used in magic tricks or illusions, suggesting deception or trickery,

  • jibber-jabber - refers to rapid, unintelligible speech or chatter.


I love listening to the soothing pitter-patter of raindrops on the roof during a summer storm.

Rumors of hanky-panky in the accounting department led to an internal investigation.

Stop with the fiddle-faddle and get straight to the point!

This post was updated on 25 Apr 2024 11:03:17

Tags:  phrase 

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hocus-pocus   jibber-jabber   topsy-turvy   mumbo-jumbo   splish-splashing  

#1 The in the speech made it very hard to understand the actual issue.

#2 Moving to Southampton in winter turned my life .

#3 The children really enjoyed in the puddles.

#4 The magician dazzled the audience with his .

#5 Stop the and let's focus on finding a solution to our problem.

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