onomatopoeia but for meaning
December 28, 2020 9:52 AM   Subscribe

Is there a word or phrase that means that a piece of writing demonstrates what it describes. For example, I have forgotten what it is, but there's a word meaning overly long or complicated, which is itself a long and complicated word. But I'm looking for a word or phrase that generalizes this idea.

Eg. if someone is complaining about others' grammar, but displays poor grammar themselves in doing so; or otherwise does the thing that it complains about others doing. "Ironic" or "oxymoron" don't quite fit for the use I'm thinking of - I'm more looking for a shorter way of saying "your post is a direct example of exactly what you are complaining about", with the focus on it being an example of the thing discussed, rather than the focus being on that the writer was complaining about the thing discussed.
posted by eviemath to Writing & Language (7 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Pot, meet kettle. This is the classic response for 'you are/ are doing what you're complaining about'.

A Quine is a piece of code that outputs itself, which is related to the first bit but not relevant here
posted by SaltySalticid at 9:57 AM on December 28, 2020 [1 favorite]

Autological / heterological sort of do this.
posted by stoneandstar at 9:58 AM on December 28, 2020 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Autological words describe themselves (like “sesquipedalian”), so perhaps you could describe these as autological sentences.
posted by Paragon at 9:59 AM on December 28, 2020 [7 favorites]

TVTropes has a whole category of self-demonstrating articles.

In your case, though, I'd just call these people "hypocritical."
posted by Rhaomi at 10:45 AM on December 28, 2020 [1 favorite]

exemplification (in some of its definitions). "the incident exemplified the phenomenon" might be correct... not elegant though, and not better than your original phrase.
posted by fingersandtoes at 10:51 AM on December 28, 2020

Circumlocutory means saying something in a long round about way, which is pleasing to roll off the tongue.
posted by Augenblick at 11:19 AM on December 28, 2020

Bonus question: is the word 'heterological' a heterological or autological word?
posted by Acheman at 1:34 AM on December 29, 2020

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