Definition of stichomythia in English:



mass noun
  • Dialogue in which two characters speak alternate lines of verse, used as a stylistic device in ancient Greek drama.

    • ‘The plays have been called ‘rhetorical’: certainly their most conspicuous feature is the passionate rhetoric of the leading characters, displayed both in terse stichomythia and extended harangues.’
    • ‘The five act structure, the appearance of some kind of ghost, the one line exchanges known as stichomythia, and Seneca's use of long rhetorical speeches were all later used in tragedies by Elizabethan playwrights.’
    • ‘When her subject is the relation of writing and dramaturgy per se, she has pertinent arguments to advance, as in her discussion of dialogic structure and the advent of stichomythia.’
    • ‘In fact this approach, called stichomythia, played a part in the creation of the Elizabethan tragic style.’


Mid 19th century modern Latin, from Greek stikhomuthia, from stikhos ‘row, line of verse’ + muthos ‘speech, talk’.