User:DCDuring/Rhetorical devices

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  1. accismus Coyness: a form of irony in which a person feigns a lack of interest in something that he or she actually desires.
  2. anadiplosis Repetition of the last word of one line or clause to begin the next.
  3. aposiopesis An unfinished thought or broken sentence.
  4. bdelygmia A litany of abuse--a series of critical epithets, descriptions, or attributes.
  5. boosting An adverbial construction used to support a claim or express a viewpoint more assertively and convincingly.
  6. chleuasmos A sarcastic reply that mocks an opponent, leaving him or her without an answer.
  7. dehortatio Dissuasive advice given with authority.
  8. diatyposis Recommending useful precepts or advice to someone else.
  9. epexegesis Adding words or phrases to further clarify or specify a statement already made.
  10. epimone Frequent repetition of a phrase or question; dwelling on a point.
  11. epizeuxis Repetition of a word or phrase for emphasis (usually with no words in between).
  12. hypocrisis Exaggerating the gestures or speech habits of another in order to mock him.
  13. paronomasia Punning, playing with words.
  14. prolepsis Figurative device by which a future event is presumed to have already occurred.
  15. skotison Intentionally obscure speech or writing, designed to confuse an audience rather than clarify an issue.
  16. syllepsis A kind of ellipsis in which one word (usually a verb) is understood differently in relation to two or more other words.
  17. synathroesmus The piling up of adjectives, often in the spirit of invective.
  18. tapinosis Name calling: undignified language that debases a person or thing.
  19. tetracolon, tetracolon climax A series of four members.
  20. zeugma Use of a word to modify or govern two or more words although its use may be grammatically or logically correct with only one.



Entry Pedia Context Ex Notes Crossref Wd Sent Lngr Arg. Definition
abating - - - - anesis - X X - -
abbaser - R - Attestable? tapinosis X X - - -
abecedarian - R Ex - abecedarian - X - - -
abcisio - R:la - - abscission - X - - -
abscission - R Ex - abscission - X - - -
ablatio#Latin - - - - apheresis X - - - -
abominatio - R Ex - bdelygmia, apodioxis W S Long Arg -
abuse - - - - catachresis - X - - -
abusio R - - catachresis - X - - -
abusion R - - catachresis - X - - -





  • deesis An adjuration or calling to witness; or, the vehement expression of desire put in terms of "for someone's sake" or "for God's sake."
  • dehortatio dissuasion
  • dendrographia Creating an illusion of reality through vivid description of a tree.
  • deprecatio la deprecation, imprecation A praying against evil, against others, or oneself; a prayer for the removal of some evil.
  • descriptio la Although descriptio is synonymous with enargia, the Ad Herennium author further specifies that it contains an exposition of the consequences of an act.
  • diacope/w:diacope Repetition of a word with one or more between, usually to express deep feeling.
  • diaeresis/w:diaeresis (prosody) P
  • dialogismus Speaking as someone else, either to bring in others' points of view into one's own speech, or to conduct a pseudo-dialog through taking up an opposing position with oneself sermonatio
  • dialysis R 1. To spell out alternatives, or to present either-or arguments that lead to a conclusion. 2. A synonym for asyndeton.
  • dialyton - See asyndeton
  • dianoea animated dialogue The use of animated questions and answers in developing an argument (sometimes simply the equivalent of anthypophora).
  • diaphora Repetition of a common name so as to perform two logical functions: to designate an individual and to signify the qualities connoted by that individual's name or title. "Let Reagan be Reagan"
  • diaporesis - See aporia
  • diaskeue Graphic peristasis (description of circumstances) intended to arouse the emotions.
  • diastole P To lengthen a vowel or syllable beyond its typical length.
  • diasyrmus elevatio, irrisio, vexatio Rejecting an argument through ridiculous comparison
  • diazeugma The figure by which a single subject governs several verbs or verbal constructions (usually arranged in parallel fashion and expressing a similar idea)
  • dicaeologia Admitting what's charged against one, but excusing it by necessity.
  • dicolon P
  • digressio A departure from logical progression in a speech.
  • dilemma R Offering to an opponent a choice between two (equally unfavorable) alternatives. \
  • dirimens copulatio R A figure by which one balances one statement with a contrary, qualifying statement (sometimes conveyed by "not only ... but also" clauses).
  • dissoi logoi/w:dissoi logoi exercise of taking opposing side.
  • distinctio la differentiation Eliminating ambiguity surrounding a word by explicitly specifying each of its distinct meanings.
  • distributio la 1. Assigning roles among or specifying the duties of a list of people, sometimes accompanied by a conclusion. 2. Sometimes this term is simply a synonym for diaeresis or merismus, which are more general figures involving division.
  • doubtfull, the - See aporia


  • ecphonesis An emotional exclamation.
  • ekphrasis/ecphrasis R 1. Vivid description; using details to place an object, person, or event before the listeners' eyes (=hypotyposis or evidentia). See also enargia. 2. The Greek term for the progymnasmata exercise, description. 3. Ecphrasis has another more restricted definition: the literary description of a work of art. Philostratus Lemnius helped to fix this more restricted sense of this term in the second century in his Imagines.
  • ecthlipsis The omission or elision of letters or syllables (often the consonant "m" and the vowel that precedes it) for the sake of poetical meter. A kind of metaplasm specific to Latin.
  • effictio A verbal depiction of someone's body, often from head to toe.
  • elenchus R A logical refutation
  • ellipsis R, P
  • emphasis Giving prominence to a quality or trait by conceiving it as constituting the very substance in which it inheres.
  • enallage/w:enallage R ex The substitution of grammatically different but semantically equivalent constructions. (Substitition)
  • enantiosis Using opposing or contrary descriptions together, typically in a somewhat paradoxical manner.
  • enargia Generic name for a group of figures aiming at vivid, lively description.
  • encomium R Generally, encomium means the praise of a person or thing. While keeping this general meaning, "encomium" also names several distinct aspects of rhetoric: 1. A general category of oratory (nearly synonymous with "epideictic") 2. A method within rhetorical pedagogy (one of the "progymnasmata": Encomium) 3. A figure of speech. As a figure, "encomium" means praising a person or thing, but occuring on a smaller scale than an entire speech.
  • energia la A general term referring to the "energy" or vigor of a expression.
  • enigma Obscuring one's meaning by presenting it within a riddle or by means of metaphors that purposefully challenge the reader or hearer to understand.
  • ennoia A kind of purposeful holding back of information that nevertheless hints at what is meant. A kind of circuitous speaking.
  • enthymeme/w:enthymeme The informal method of reasoning typical of rhetorical discourse. The enthymeme is sometimes defined as a "truncated syllogism" since either the major or minor premise found in that more formal method of reasoning is left implied. The enthymeme typically occurs as a conclusion coupled with a reason. When several enthymemes are linked together, this becomes sorites.
  • enumeratio/w:enumeratio 1. A synonym for anacephalaeosis. 2. Dividing a subject into its adjuncts, a cause into its effects, or an antecedent into its consequents. 3. A synonym for expeditio.
  • epanalepsis/w:epanalepsis Repetition of the same word or clause after intervening matter. More strictly, repetition at the end of a line, phrase, or clause of the word or words that occurred at the beginning of the same line, phrase, or clause.
  • epanodos R 1. Repeating the main terms of an argument in the course of presenting it. 2. Returning to the main theme after a digression 3. Returning to and providing additional detail for items mentioned previously (often using parallelism).
  • epanorthosis/w:Epanorthosis R Amending a first thought by altering it to make it stronger or more vehement (=metanoeia).
  • epenthesis/w:Epenthesis P
  • epergesis Interposing an apposition, often in order to clarify what has just been stated.
  • epexegesis R
  • epicrisis Rcat When a speaker quotes a certain passage and makes comment upon it.
  • epilogus Providing an inference of what is likely to follow.
  • epimone Persistent repetition of the same plea in much the same words.
  • epiphonema R An epigrammatic summary which gathers into a pithy sentence what has preceeded. A striking, summarizing reflection.
  • epiplexis Asking questions in order to chide, to express grief, or to inveigh. A kind of rhetorical question.
  • epistrophe/w:epistrophe R Ending a series of lines, phrases, clauses, or sentences with the same word or words.
  • epitasis R The addition of a concluding sentence that merely emphasizes what has already been stated. A kind of amplification,
  • epitheton Attributing to a person or thing a quality or description—sometimes by the simple addition of a descriptive adjective; sometimes through a descriptive or metaphorical apposition.
  • episynaloephe Blending two syllables together into one (rather than simply omitting one of two neighboring vowels [=synaloepha]). The opposite of diaeresis. A kind of metaplasm.
  • epitrochasmus To touch rapidly on one point and then another.
  • epitrope A figure in which one turns things over to one's hearers, either pathetically, ironically, or in such a way as to suggest a proof of something without having to state it. Epitrope often takes the form of granting permission (hence its Latin name, permissio), submitting something for consideration, or simply referring to the abilities of the audience to supply the meaning that the speaker passes over (hence Puttenham's term, figure of reference). Epitrope can be either biting in its irony, or flattering in its deference.
  • epizeugma Placing the verb that holds together the entire sentence (made up of multiple parts that depend upon that verb) either at the very beginning or the very ending of that sentence.
  • epizeuxis/w:epizeuxis R
  • erotema The rhetorical question. To affirm or deny a point strongly by asking it as a question.
  • ethopoeia The description and portrayal of a character (natural propensities, manners and affections, etc.). A kind of enargia. See the progymnasmata exercise impersonation.
  • ethos/w:ethos
  • eucharistia Giving thanks for a benefit received, sometimes adding one's inability to repay.
  • euche A vow to keep a promise.
  • eulogia Pronouncing a blessing for the goodness in a person.
  • euphemismus/w:Euphemism Substituting a more favorable for a pejorative or socially delicate term. (Substitition)
  • eustathia Promising constancy in purpose and affection.
  • eutrepismus ordinatio Numbering and ordering the parts under consideration.
  • example Amplifying a point by providing a true or feigned example.
  • excitatio To excite an audience, especially out of a stupor or boredom. Kinds of excitatio include an acclamatio, an invocation, a digression affirming, denying, or prohibiting something, or a simple admonishment not to sleep.
  • exclamatio Most often exclamatio is simply the Latin term for ecphonesis (an emotional exclamation); however, it has also been used (as in the Ad Herennium) to indicate apostrophe.
  • excursus Rcat A digression.
  • exergasia/w:exergasia Repetition of the same idea, changing either its words, its delivery, or the general treatment it is given. A method for amplification, variation, and explanation. As such, exergasia compares to the progymnasmata exercises.
  • exouthenismos An expression of contempt.
  • expeditio la After enumerating all possibilities by which something could have occurred, the speaker eliminates all but one (=apophasis). Although the Ad Herennium author lists expeditio as a figure, it is more properly considered a method of argument (sometimes known as the "Method of Residues" when employed in refutation.)
  • expolitio - See exergasia
  • exuscitatio Stirring others by one's own vehement feeling (sometimes by means of a rhetorical question, and often for the sake of exciting anger).





  • icon 1. A figure which paints the likeness of a person by imagery. 2. A figure of comparison in which a person is held up against the explicit image of another.
  • indignatio la - See aganactesis
  • inopinatum The expression of one's inability to believe or conceive of something; a type of faux wondering). As such, this kind of paradox is much like aporia and functions much like a rhetorical question or erotema.
  • insinuatio la A method for securing good will within the exordium.
  • interrogatio la 1. erotema (the rhetorical question). In the Ad Herennium, however, interrogatio is described as employing a question as a way of confirming or reinforcing the argument one has just made.
  • inter se pugnantia Using direct address to reprove someone before an audience, pointing out the contradictions in that person's character, often between what a person does and says.
  • intimation Hinting at a meaning but not stating it explicitly
  • irony Rcat Speaking in such a way as to imply the contrary of what one says, often for the purpose of derision, mockery, or jest.
  • isocolon/w:isocolon R




  • noema (attest? this sense)



  • paenismus Expressing joy for blessings obtained or an evil avoided.
  • palilogia la - See palilogy
  • palilogy/w:palilogy R
  • parabola The explicit drawing of a parallel between two essentially dissimilar things, especially with a moral or didactic purpose. A parable. Parabola can be considered a type of metaphor or simile, or allegory (within its more constrained meaning). Bede refers to this figure, along with paradigma and icon, as kinds of homoeosis.
  • parachesis/w:parachesis P
  • paradiastole/w:paradiastole R
  • paradiegesis An introductory narrative (often a digression) used to open a speech.
  • paradigma An argument from example whose purpose is to exhort or dissuade.
  • paradox R
  • paraenesis R
  • paragoge P
  • paralipsis R
  • parallelism R
  • paramythia An expression of consolation and encouragement.
  • paraprosdokian/w:paraprosdokian
  • parasyntheton/w:parasyntheton word formed by affixation on compound word
  • parathesis - See parenthesis
  • parecbasis A digression. More specifically, a digression that often comes following the narratio and has some bearing on the case, although it appears to be a departure from the logical order.
  • paregmenon R
  • parelcon 1. The use of redundant or superfluous terms. Often the use of two words in lieu of one. 2. A synonym for paragoge.
  • parembole R
  • parenthesis R
  • pareuresis To put forward a convincing excuse.
  • paroemia - see proverb
  • paroemion Alliteration taken to an extreme—every word in a sentence begins with the same consonant.
  • paromoiosis/w:paromoiosis Parallelism of sound between the words of adjacent clauses whose lengths are equal or approximate to one another.
  • paromologia R
  • paronomasia R
  • parrhesia R
  • pathopoeia R A general term for speech that moves hearers emotionally, especially as the speaker attempts to elicit an emotional response by way of demonstrating his/her own feelings (exuscitatio).
  • perclusio A threat against someone, or something.
  • pericope/w:pericope R
  • periergia Overuse of words or figures of speech. As such, it may simply be considered synonymous with macrologia. However, as Puttenham's term suggests, periergia may differ from simple superfluity in that the language appears over-labored.
  • period R The periodic sentence, characterized by the suspension of the completion of sense until its end. This has been more possible and favored in Greek and Latin, languages already favoring the end position for the verb, but has been approximated in uninflected languages such as English.
  • periphrasis R The substitution of a descriptive word or phrase for a proper name (a species of circumlocution); or, conversely, the use of a proper name as a shorthand to stand for qualities associated with it. (Substitition)
  • perissologia/w:perissologia it In general, the fault of wordiness. More specifically, periphrasis, circumlocution, synonymia, accumulatio, or amplification carried to a fault by length or overelaborateness.
  • peristasis A description of attendant circumstances: time, place, occasion, personal characteristics, background, education, habits, etc.
  • permutatio la
  • personification/w:personification R Reference to abstractions or inanimate objects as though they had human qualities or abilities. The English term for prosopopeia or ethopoeia.
  • philophronesis The pacification of an adversary by use of mild speech or promises.
  • pleonasm R
  • ploce/w:ploce (figure of speech) R The repetition of a single word for rhetorical emphasis. Ploce is a general term and has sometimes been used in place of more specific terms such as polyptoton (when the repetition involves a change in the form of the word) or antanaclasis (when the repetition involves a change in meaning).
  • polyptoton/w:polyptoton R Repeating a word, but in a different form. Using a cognate of a given word in close proximity.
  • polysyndeton R
  • praeteritio/w:praeteritio see apophasis.
  • pragmatographia The description of an action (such as a battle, a feast, a marriage, a burial, etc.). A kind of enargia. This figure is frequently used in drama for exposition or to report what has happened offstage.
  • procatalepsis R
  • proclees Challenging one's adversary.
  • prodiorthosis A statement intended to prepare one's audience for something shocking or offensive. An extreme example of protherapeia.
  • proecthesis When, in conclusion, a justifying reason is provided.
  • prolepsis R
  • prosapodosis Providing a reason for each division of a statement, the reasons usually following the statement in parallel fashion.
  • proslepsis R
  • prosonomasia - See paronomasia
  • prosopographia The vivid description of someone's face or character. A kind of enargia. Also, the description of feigned or imaginary characters, such as devils or harpies.
  • prosopopoeia R
  • prosphonesis - See apostrophe
  • prosthesis P
  • protherapeia Preparing one's audience for what one is about to say through conciliating words. If what is to come will be shocking, the figure is called prodiorthosis.
  • prothesis P
  • protrope A call to action, often by using threats or promises.
  • proverb OK
  • prozeugma A series of clauses in which the verb employed in the first is ellided (and thus implied) in the others.
  • pysma The asking of multiple questions successively (which would together require a complex reply). A rhetorical use of the question.