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Hendiatris (from the , hèn dià triôn, "one through three") is a figure of speech used for emphasis, in which three words are used to express one idea. For example, the phrase "wine, women and song" uses three words to capture one idea.

If the units involved are not single words, and if they are not in any way synonyms but rather "circumnavigate" the one idea expressed, the figure may be described more correctly, precisely, and succinctly as a triad.

Tripartite motto is the conventional English term for a motto, a slogan, or an advertising phrase in the form of a hendiatris. Perhaps equally well-known throughout the world are Julius Caesar's "Veni vidi vici" (an example of a tricolon) and the motto of the French Republicmarker: Liberté, Égalité, Fraternité, also "Peace, Order and Good Government" is used as a guiding principle in the parliaments of the Commonwealth of Nations.

In the ancient and classical world

In rhetorical teaching, such triple iterations marked the classic rhythm of Ciceronian style, typified by the triple rhetorical questions of his first Oration Against Catiline:
Quo usque tandem abutere, Catilina, patientia nostra? quamdiu etiam furor iste tuus nos eludet? quem ad finem sese effrenata jactabit audacia?
Until when will you abuse, Catilina, our patience? For how long will that madness of yours mock us? To what end will your unbridled boldness toss itself about?


In ancient Greece and Rome, such abstractions as liberty and justice were theologized. Hence the earliest tripartite mottoes are lists of the names of goddesses: Eunomia, Dike, and Eirene. These late Greek goddesses, respectively Good Order, Justice, and Peace were collectively referred to by the Romans as the Horae. Their list is remarkably similar to the Canadian motto, Peace, Order and Good Government. The Romans had Concordia, Salus, and Pax, collectively called the Fortunae. The names of these mean Harmony, Health, and Peace.

In Shakespeare

"Cry God for Harry, England and St. George" (Henry V)

Since the Renaissance and the Enlightenment

From the 18th century, the tripartite motto was primarily political. John Locke's Life, Liberty, and Property was adapted by Thomas Jefferson when he wrote the United States Declaration of Independence into Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, which has become the American equivalent of the French triad listed above.The initial Carlist motto was God, Country, King.

Modern usages

Lenin and the Bolsheviks adopted a tripartite motto for the Russian Revolution, "Peace, Land, and Bread." During the New Deal, the projects of the President were summed up as Relief, Recovery, and Reform. Later the form was used for strident fascist patter, such as Fascist Italy's Credere! Obbedire! Combattere! This means Believe! Obey! Fight!

A famous Nazi slogan is also tripartite: Ein Volk! Ein Reich! Ein Führer!: "One people! One state! One leader!". The modern motto of Germanymarker: "Einigkeit und Recht und Freiheit" (Unity and Justice and Freedom) is inscribed on the side of German euro coins, as it was on Deutsche Mark coins.

The 1974 Carnation Revolution in Portugalmarker aimed at three immediate goals: "Descolonização, Democratização, Desenvolvimento" (decolonization, democratization, development).

The US Federal Bureau of Investigationmarker has an initialistic motto: Fidelity, Bravery, Integrity, while the United States Military Academymarker at West Pointmarker has Duty, Honor, Country. This concept been extended to the list of core values of the U.S. armed services. The University of Notre Damemarker has adopted God, Country, Notre Dame as an informal motto. The phrase first appeared on the First World War memorial located on the east portico of the basilicamarker.

Very often triple mottoes derive from a turn of oratory in a speech; for example Abraham Lincoln's of the people, by the people, for the people in his Gettysburg Address.

These are common throughout Western civilization, but also appear in other cultures. The Japanese said that during their boom years, illegal immigrants performed the work that was Kiken, Kitsui, Kitanai, or Dangerous, Difficult, (and/or) Dirty.

The form is so well known that it can be played upon, as in the three requisites of Real Estate ("Location, Location, Location"), and similarly with Tony Blair stating his priorities as a political leader to be "education, education and education".

In German society, the tripartite motto Kirche, Kinder, Küche (church, children, kitchen) was first a late 19th century slogan, and today is used sarcastically by young women to express their disdain for their traditional role in society. Kirche was also occasionally replaced with Führer. And at the Austrian Anschluss the Nazis used the slogan Ein Volk, ein Reich, ein Führer (One people, one state, one leader).

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