Part of speech: noun
Origin: Latin, mid-17th century
A figure of speech by which an impossible (or highly unlikely) situation is used for emphasis; an instance of this.
Examples of Adynaton in a sentence
"With a bit of adynaton, the story went from mundane to fantastic."
"It's just adynaton, but the campfire story was so impossibly scary, none of us could sleep."
If you take a rhetoric class, you'll learn tools for persuasive writing and public speaking. One of these tricks is adynaton, a figure of speech in which an impossible situation is described to make a point. For example: "raining cats and dogs" and "when pigs fly."
Did you Know?
Parents might use the tale of "The Boy Who Cried Wolf" as a lesson to teach their children not to exaggerate or tell false stories. In this case, the adynaton is both the overblown tale, and the danger of exaggeration itself.