Abbaser [George] Puttenham’s English term for tapinosis. Also equivalent to meiosis: reference to something with a name disproportionately lesser than its nature (a kind of litotes: deliberate understatement, especially when expressing a thought by denying its opposite).

His hand blown off by the bomb blast, according to the news reporter in Ankara, my friend was “injured.” He isn’t injured, he is maimed for life.

Oh yeah news idiot, he was “injured” by the bomb blast, just like the woman who was standing next to him. Blown to bits, let’s call her terminally wounded.

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Definitions courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” ( Bracketed text added by Gorgias.


Abecedarian (a-be-ce-da’-ri-an): An acrostic whose letters do not spell a word but follow the order (more or less) of the alphabet.

A bus carrying donkeys emitted foul gawky heehaws.  I jumped! Kecking like my neck orgasmed, pacing quickly, reeling slightly, tripping unquietly, vampishly whumping, xylose-yapping-zapped and blubbering, crashing down, emitting fetid gas, happily I quit this stupid exercise of abecedarian.

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Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (


Accismus (ak-iz’-mus): A feigned refusal of that which is earnestly desired.

What? One-dozen hand-grenades and enough C-4 to blow the doors off the US Embassy? I am truly grateful and humbled by your birthday gifts, but I am unworthy of such magnificent and bountiful offerings. I beg of you, please, take these wonderfully murderous munitions back.  Keep them until I have proven I deserve them.

Oh? You insist? Well in that case, I gratefully accept  your death-dealing gifts! I will put them to good use immediately!

Here! Hot potato!

Ha ha!


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Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (


Acervatio (ak-er-va’-ti-o): Latin term Quintilian employs for both asyndeton (acervatio dissoluta: a loose heap) and polysyndeton (acervatio iuncta: a conjoined heap).

Asyndeton: the omission of conjunctions between clauses, often resulting in a hurried rhythm or vehement effect.

Stand up, speak, talk, yell, gesture, cry, scream, laugh, cry again–do whatever needs to be done to move the constipated blocks of stinking cheese euphemistically called “the audience.”

Let them know, if they don’t get up and go, another child will cry, and go hungry, and be dehydrated, and fall overboard, and drown, and end up face-down-dead on a beach instead of chasing blue waves and laughing, and eating ice cream, and watching shore birds, and paddling, and swimming to his mother’s outstretched arms!

Polysydeton: employing many conjunctions between clauses, often slowing the tempo or rhythm.

Stand up, speak, talk, yell, gesture, cry, scream,laugh, cry again–do whatever needs to be done to move the constipated blocks of stinking cheese euphemistically called “the audience.”

Let them know, if they don’t get up and go, another child will cry, and go hungry, and be dehydrated, and fall overboard, and drown, and end up face-down-dead on a beach instead of chasing blue waves, and laughing, and eating ice cream, and watching shore birds, and paddling, and swimming to his mother’s outstretched arms!

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Definitions courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (


Acoloutha: The substitution of reciprocal words; that is, replacing one word with another whose meaning is close enough to the former that the former could, in its turn, be a substitute for the latter. This term is best understood in relationship to its opposite, anacoloutha.

We are gathered here to mourn the loss of our colleagues and friends.

We are assembled here to show our solidarity with their families, loved ones, and friends.

And finally, we are standing here to show the world that we are not afraid, that our lives will go on even as they are touched by absences and tragic memories.

We live in times already horrific enough when murder, pillage and rape are cloaked in religion, ideology, and nationalism and all the other disguises worn by viscous criminals.

But there is no disguising madness.

There is no disguising the fact that in the USA  demonstrably crazy people have easy access to weapons–to bullets, to triggers, and to their victims who are as innocent and unsuspecting in their daily lives as infants are in their parents’ arms.

We look at each other with tears in our eyes and despair in our hearts. We ask, “Who next? Where next?”

We must answer these questions for our fallen friends, family members, loved ones and colleagues for they are gone forever; silenced, pushed out of our lives by the mad hands of murder.

We must answer “who next” with “nobody.”

We must answer “where next” with “nowhere.”

And together, we must do everything humanly possible to deprive the insane–the mentally mangled narcissists who murder unarmed innocent people–we must do everything humanly possible to deprive them of their bullets, rifles, and pistols and their alleged ‘right’ to bear arms.

So, as we stand together, so we shall talk together, walk together and collectively voice our raging sorrow to those who permit mass murders by arming, by law and by flawed gun control policies, people who should be in psychiatric wards, not on campuses, in hallways, and in classrooms killing teachers, killing students, killing staff people or anybody else they can aim at and shoot at through the beguiling haze of their insanity.

At a minimum we demand a government-funded full psychiatric evaluation, and periodic reevaluation, of every gun owner and every individual who intends to purchase a firearm of any kind for any purpose, from now until the end of time.

We are sick of hearing about seemingly “normal, quiet people” who purchase firearms legally and then use them to commit mass murder.

We must go forward together and agitate, and demonstrate, and never again placate with our votes those who would stand in our way and collude in arming and equipping mentally unbalanced murderers as if they were Ken and Barbie going off to target practice at their favorite shooting range, which may turn out to be the local high school, community college, or university.

May our lost colleagues, family members, spouses, loved ones and friends forever rest in peace.

And, may we never rest until we have our way and clear the future of the suffering, anguish, and pain we feel here today.

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Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (


Acrostic: When the first letters of successive lines are arranged either in alphabetical order (= abecedarian) or in such a way as to spell a word.


Each of you must be more conscious of your diets.

At least make sure to consume the minimal number of calories and practice the exercise regimes recommended to you by our doctors.

This is probably your last chance to overcome your anorexia. 


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Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (


Adage (ad’-age): One of several terms describing short, pithy sayings, or traditional expressions of conventional wisdom.

“When the going gets tough, the tough get Flomax.” Dr.  Gowyn McBunnet (From Bowling Balls to BBs: The Golden Book of Prostate Wisdom)

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Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (


Adianoeta: An expression that, in addition to an obvious meaning, carries a second, subtle meaning (often at variance with the ostensible meaning).

I am so excited that Armageddon is showing its face in Syria, Afghanistan, Niger, Iraq, Cameroon, Nigeria, Chad, Somalia, Yemen, CAR, and even Ukraine!  I am sure I’ve left out some additional sites of blood, stench, bombing, bullets, and the slaughtering of innocent people. I apologize for that!

Do you think the United Nations is excited too? One would think so! After 70 years of endless turmoil, perhaps its end is finally in sight!

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Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (


Adnominatio (ad-no-mi-na’-ti-o): 1. A synonym for paronomasia [punning].  2. A synonym for polyptoton.  3. Assigning to a proper name its literal or homophonic meaning.

1. Your math is trouble sum.

2. The deal dealt dealing with the current refugee crisis leaves a great deal to be desired, especially where Hungary is concerned–an EU member nation with an F-U attitude toward the suffering, displaced, hungry, tired, frightened women, men and children fleeing death.

3. Headline: “Trump Wins Bridge With Lawsuit”

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Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” ( Bracketed text added by Gorgias.


Adynaton (a-dyn’-a-ton): A declaration of impossibility, usually in terms of an exaggerated comparison. Sometimes, the expression of the impossibility of expression.

Today Putin spoke at the UN.  His speech was touted by Russian media, forecasting it as a “speech that will change the world.”

Every time I fart, I change the world.

Every meter I walk changes the world.

Everything we do and say changes the world.

So, if Russian media meant that, like a fart blown into the wind, or a footprint on a piece of grass, Putin’s speech would change the world, to be sure, they were correct.

But, if the world-changing speech they forecast was supposed to affect other aspects of the world, beyond its blowing wind and the electricity used to broadcast it, their forecast was a dream–an impossible dream prompted by somebody’s megalomania and the misguided, if not psychotic, delusion of grandeur exemplified by a smallish balding shirtless man on horseback single-handedly liberating Crimea from its Western oppressors and stamping out the disease of democracy infecting its political institutions with the virus of social media and festering elections.

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Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (


Aetiologia (ae-ti-o-log’-i-a): A figure of reasoning by which one attributes a cause for a statement or claim made, often as a simple relative clause of explanation.

My daughter’s life is an open book, because it’s my checkbook.

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Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (


Affirmatio (af’-fir-ma’-ti-o): A general figure of emphasis that describes when one states something as though it had been in dispute or in answer to a question, though it has not been.

They question the legitimacy of the Bible as the fundamental guide to goodness and the rule of our lives. “It’s just another book. A wonderful work of ancient literature” they say. They scoff at religion’s foundation in faith and its belief in what cannot be seen or known. “It’s unscientific. It’s a delusion. The opiate of the masses” they say.

We say they stand in the shadows of evil casting off the chords of conscience, rejecting faith, resisting the divine prompting of God’s saving grace and His invitation to the wonders of His endless love.

We know. Sinners will sin.

Yet, the righteous glory in God’s love and pray for the sinners’ salvation.

By the grace of God’s mercy and the almighty grip of His righteous hand, we pray for God’s forgiveness–for the instant salvation of the damned.

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Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (


Aganactesis (ag’-an-ak-tee’-sis): An exclamation proceeding from deep indignation.

Your dog crapped on my lawn again.

You just stood there and watched!

If it happens again, you’re having dog crap for dinner you feckless poopmeister!

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Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (


Allegory (al’-le-go-ry): A sustained metaphor continued through whole sentences or even through a whole discourse.

Grecian Debt Krisis

There was this Greek who lived in a cave. His name was Agamomhen. Agamomhen’s cave was located on the edge of the Mountain of  Debt near the Valley of Austerity. Agamomhen had no pants, no wallet, no shirt, no car, no bicycle, no donkey, no MasterCard, no hat. However, he did possess the Magic Honey Jar.  When Agamomhen put his hand in the jar his fingers became sticky. But sticky fingers did not help.  For there was nothing he could stick to them anywhere near the Mountain of Debt.

Ah ha! Agamomhen thought, “I can woo Queen Merkle-Pickle of Germymany. She has much coal and good lager. With luck, my fingers may stick to her!”

So, Agamomhen covered himself with an empty can of Sun*Med giant beans and walked out into the sunlight.

He tripped over a bag of worthless drachma and tumbled down the steep slope of The Mountain of Debt. He lay badly injured in the hot dust, paperwork, and sheep dung littering the Valley of Austerity. Agamomhen gazed upon the empty bean can concealing his manhood.  It was dented. The label had been torn off by his fall. He peed in it while he waited for the government ambulance.

Bladder drained, Agamomhen felt good. Suddenly he heard the sirens! The OOOH-YOU ZONE Rescue Vehicle was coming!

As he was transported from the Valley of Austerity, Agamomhen struggled to look forward from his Binding Gurney. He couldn’t see where he was going.

Instead, the foul smells of schnapps, urine, bratwurst, and mustard coming from the front seat made Agamomhen wretch. From his Binding Gurney, all he could do was watch the swirling cloud of dust, paperwork, and sheep dung trailing behind the wailing OOH-YOU Rescue Vehicle.

Agamomhen could not help but think, “I should’ve stayed in my cave on the Mountain of Debt.”

Just then, the Rescue Vehicle hit a huge pothole. Agamomhen was thrown out the back into the cloud of dust, paperwork, and dung, still strapped to his Binding Gurney. To his great dismay Agamomhen landed in a fresh pile of sheep dung with the Binding Gurney now strapped firmly to his back. He was injured, immobile, and stranded on the floor of  The Valley of Austerity. Through the dust and litter Agamomhen could barely see the hand waving from the departing Rescue Vehicle’s driver’s side window. It’s middle finger was extended.

Emptied of its unwanted passenger, the OOH-YOU Rescue Vehicle raced madly toward Bruzzels leaving six or seven empty schnapps bottles and two to three jars of mustard in its wake.

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Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (


Alleotheta (al-le-o-the’-ta): Substitution of one case, gender, mood, number, tense, or person for another. Synonymous with enallage. [Some rhetoricians claim that alleotheta is a] general category that includes antiptosis [(a type of enallage in which one grammatical case is substituted for another)] and all forms of enallage [(the substitution of grammatically different but semantically equivalent constructions)].

I’m at I.H.O.P. enjoying a pile of pancakes covered with chocolate ice-cream, Reese’s Pieces, and blueberry-flavored maple syrup when a guy walks in the door dressed in sweatpants, flip-flops, and and a t-shirt with a picture of Moe from the Three Stooges on it.

He started waving a napkin and yelling “I surrender, I surrender.”

I pick up my napkin and stand up and yell, “I surrender too!”

Next, everybody in the place follows our lead!

I sat down on my pancakes and then run out the door.

I hear sirens coming and breaking china from inside.

I pass out. I wake up. I am a pancake. Destitute. No butter. No Syrup. No nothing. Draped on the rim of a trashcan. Waiting for sundown and the roaches that will swarm on me.

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Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (


Alliteration (al-lit’-er-a’-tion): Repetition of the same letter or sound within nearby words. Most often, repeated initial consonants. Taken to an extreme alliteration becomes the stylistic vice of paroemion where nearly every word in a sentence begins with the same consonant.

When will the United States’ presidential primary campaign clown show be over with? We want world leaders running for office.

Ask yourself:

Could Bozo do the job?  No.

Could Ronald MacDonald do the job? No.

What about Pee Wee Herman or Clarabell or Side-Show Bob or Benny Hill? No. No. No.

Well, maybe Benny Hill, but he belongs in British Parliamentary politics. Too bad he’s gone to the Big Panto in the sky.

Ralph Nader, where are you? Probably trapped in a Corvair somewhere in Canada.

Ross Perot, you are not demented (yet)! ‘Merica needs you now more than ever! Get out there! Wear your cowboy boots!! Walk all over Walker!  Strangle Trump with your bolo tie!! Make Hilary ride side-saddle!! Put pearl snaps in Jeb’s corn flakes!! Ride Christie bareback around Trenton!!

Go Ross go!

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Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (


Allusion (ə-ˈlü-zhən):[1] A reference/representation of/to a well-known person, place, event, literary work, or work of art . . . “a brief reference, explicit or indirect, to a person, place or event, or to another literary work or passage”. It is left to the reader or hearer to make the connection . . . ; an overt allusion is a misnomer for what is simply a reference.[2]

It was raining like crazy. Lightening. Thunder. Trees uprooted. Branches snapping. Fire! Sirens! Mobile homes flying by! Now I know what “gone with the wind” really means! Catastrophe.

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1. Phonetic transcription courtesy of Miriam-Webster’s On-Line Dictionary <3/6/08>.

2. Definition courtesy of Wikipedia <3/6/08>.


Amphibologia (am’-fi-bo-lo’-gi-a): Ambiguity of grammatical structure, often occasioned by mispunctuation. [A vice of ambiguity.]

I saw my cat in my pick-up truck with my sunglasses. Ran over squirrel. Hit tree. Ran away.

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Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” ( Bracketed text added by Gorgias.


Ampliatio (am’-pli-a’-ti-o): Using the name of something or someone before it has obtained that name or after the reason for that name has ceased. A form of epitheton.

(1) Nite nite my wonderful wife! Just think–tomorrow morning we’ll be married! I can’t wait! Tomorrow night calling you my wonderful wife will be a dream come true! Talk to you in the morning! Is it really possible to get married on SKYPE?

(2) Stop calling me “Captain Thruster.” The last time I thrusted was when I jumped out of the way when you almost ran me over in the driveway! And I peed my pants too!   Why don’t you just call me “Private Noodle” and bring me another martini and some nachos? Where the hell are my glasses? Dammit!

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Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (


Anacoenosis (an’-a-ko-en-os’-is): Asking the opinion or judgment of the judges or audience, usually implying their common interest with the speaker in the matter [and illustrating their communally-held ideals of truth, justice, goodness and beauty, for better and for worse].

Is it good to behead the infidels?  To burn them alive? To shoot them in their terror-filled faces? To blow them to pieces of meat to land justly on Satan’s unholy table–to be eternally chewed, swallowed, vomited–each infidel feeling it all in every torn fragment of their flesh and every drop of their splattered blood?

Of course it is good!

Of course!  Of course!  Of course!

You clamor and shout your agreement! You signify your righteousness! You are truly men of faith!

Yes! We are blessed! We are virtuous! Our holy cause is just!

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Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” ( Bracketed test added by Gorgias.


Anacoloutha (an-a-co’-lu-tha): Substituting one word with another whose meaning is very close to the original, but in a non-reciprocal fashion; that is, one could not use the first, original word as a substitute for the second. This is the opposite of acoloutha.

Let’s go shopping. Let’s go die.

Public spaces blown to pieces. People spaces smoking ruins. Stalls and store fronts made into war fronts.

Blanket-covered victims.

Pull away a victim’s cover, just another person. A son. A father. A daughter. A mother.

All dead, ripped, punctured, riddled.

All guilty of going shopping.

All guilty of being people.

All guilty of being in Bangkok.

Easy grist for the terror mill.

Ripe for senseless execution.

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Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (


Anacoluthon (an-a-co-lu’-thon): A grammatical interruption or lack of implied sequence within a sentence. That is, beginning a sentence in a way that implies a certain logical resolution, but concluding it differently than the grammar leads one to expect. Anacoluthon can be either a grammatical fault or a stylistic virtue, depending on its use. In either case, it is an interruption or a verbal lack of symmetry. Anacoluthon is characteristic of spoken language or interior thought, and thus suggests those domains when it occurs in writing.

Top secret documents . . . does she have anything to say?

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Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (


Anadiplosis (an’-a-di-plo’-sis): The repetition of the last word (or phrase) from the previous line, clause, or sentence at the beginning of the next. Often combined with climax.

Beauty attracts the soul, the soul opens the mind, the mind imagines a world of passion, peace and happiness.

Happiness is the worship of beauty.

Happiness is a prayer to Eros uttered by mind-voicing to a joyous soul, transfixed by the idea, transfigured by the word, and multiplied by their coupling as form and matter: thought and sound.

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Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (


Anamnesis (an’-am-nee’-sis): Calling to memory past matters. More specifically, citing a past author [apparently] from memory.  Anamnesis helps to establish ethos [credibility], since it conveys the idea that the speaker is knowledgeable of the received wisdom from the past.

George Sand tells us, “There is only one happiness in this life, to love and be loved.” Sand almost had it right! But she missed one important point.  As Johnny Depp so thoughtfully put it: “Tomorrow it’ll all be over, then I’ll have to go back to selling pens again.”

Between Sand and Depp there is an emotional chasm.  Between Depp and Sand there is a ticking time bomb.

Tomorrow is always inevitably coming and it can blow to bits the promises, the affections, the passions, and yes, even the “one happiness” afforded by “loving and being loved.”

And when that “one happiness” is exploded by time, burned to ashes by circumstance, and blown away by fortune’s wind, what is left?

Going back to selling pens, or writhing in pain on the cold dirt of despair?

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Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” ( Gorgias has inserted the bracketed words [apparently] and [credibility].

Quotations from:





Anaphora (an-aph’-o-ra): Repetition of the same word or group of words at the beginning of successive clauses, sentences, or lines.

Where is Bernie Sanders?

Where is the Vermont cheddar cheese-eating pinko-wierdo today?


Where is Donald Trump?

Where is CEO BB Brain bloviating today??


Bernie, something’s wrong. It should be the other way around.

Bernie! Come on! Say something crazy! Like, “Donald Trump is so angry he’s bleeding out of his eyes and somewhere else!”

That’ll get you noticed!

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Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (