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centipede effect

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A term occasionally used to denote hyper-reflection. It alludes to the following poem, usually attributed to Anonymous but in fact published in 1871 by the poet Katherine Craster (1841–74): ‘The Centipede was happy quite, / Until a Toad in fun / Said, “Pray, which leg goes after which?” / And worked her mind to such a pitch, / She lay distracted in a ditch / Considering how to run.’ See also Humphrey's law.

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