Distributio

Distributio (dis-tri-bu’-ti-o): (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.

The CEO sets the tone. The VP tones the set. The CFO oversees the VP’s tone-setting of the set by continuously  assessing assets and liabilities and being set to instruct the VP to reset the tone of the set, and sometimes the set itself, to set the projected tone in accord with the set’s fluctuations so the CEO can set the tone in accord with the assessment. Brokers are set to put and take on sets of investors’ assets as the tone of the set is reset. Investors wait for quarterly reports that may set them to jubilance or malevolence. Consumers just buy stuff.

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Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (rhetoric.byu.edu).

Ecphonesis

Ecphonesis (ec-pho-nee’-sis): An emotional exclamation.

Pat: “My head is on fire!”

Sam: “So is your imagination.”

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Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (rhetoric.byu.edu)

Effictio

Effictio (ef-fik’-ti-o): A verbal depiction of someone’s body, often from head to toe.

Note: This figure was used in forensic rhetoric (legal argumentation) for purposes of clearly identifying an alleged criminal. It has often been adapted to poetical uses.

His head was shaped like an heirloom tomato–sort of elliptical with veined bumps running from front to back on the shaved part where his hair used to be.  His eyes were covered with a strip of spray-painted cardboard: flat red with little peepholes poked in it so he could see. His ears were pinned back like left and right side mirrors on a car ready to go through a car wash.   His neck looked like a scuffed traffic cone perched on his shoulders which were slumped and narrow like the back of a bentwood chair. His arms were fat fire hoses swinging as he walked toward me, clutching a big blue bucket with skinny little baby hotdog fingers accented by filthy fingernails.

His black t-shirt said in big bright-green letters: “Repent Or I will Pull Down My Pants.” His “pants” were two trash bags stapled to his T-shirt.

I was thinking “How’s he going to pull his pants down without ripping his T-shirt?”

I felt a shiver in my spine.

“Oh my God, it’s dad in his annual ‘surprise’ Halloween costume!”

I picked up a rock from the gutter and considered throwing it at him. Instead, I put it in his bucket.

“You may need this when the kids over on 85th street chase you like they did last year.”

“Do you remember, Dad?”

He looked at me with his cardboard-covered eyes and blew a tenor fart that slowly faded into the sound of a doleful tuba.

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Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (rhetoric.byu.edu).

Ellipsis

Ellipsis (el-lip’-sis): Omission of a word or short phrase easily understood in context.

Yesterday, I shaved my head. Tough! Rough!

Uh oh!

Problem. Five o’clock shadow around bald spot.

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Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (rhetoric.byu.edu)

Enallage

Enallage (e-nal’-la-ge): The substitution of grammatically different but semantically equivalent constructions.

The rain in Phoenix fell and fell and fell.  Drenched with nearly 2 inches of H2O, Interstate 17 closed, the airport closed, and 31,000 suburban Phonecians lost their electricity.

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Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (rhetoric.byu.edu)

Enantiosis

Enantiosis (e-nan-ti-o’-sis): Using opposing or contrary descriptions together, typically in a somewhat paradoxical manner.

It’s generally a good idea to tell the truth, but sometimes it gets innocent people killed.

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Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (rhetoric.byu.edu)

Enigma

Enigma (e-nig’-ma): Obscuring one’s meaning by presenting it within a riddle or by means of metaphors that purposefully challenge the reader or hearer to understand.

What gets hotter and hotter the more it cools?

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Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (rhetoric.byu.edu).

Ennoia

Ennoia (en-no’-i-a): A kind of purposeful holding back of information that nevertheless hints at what is meant. A kind of circuitous speaking.

The car is covered in bird poop and mud. The bucket, sponge and hose are over there. The vacuum’s by the porch, near the faucet.

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Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (rhetoric.byu.edu).

Enthymeme

Enthymeme (en’-thy-meem): 1. The informal method [or figure] 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. 2.  A figure of speech which bases a conclusion on the truth of its contrary. [Depending on its grammatical structure and specific word choice, it may be chiasmus].

1. We made it to New Hampshire! Let the fun begin!

2. If justice should be pursued always all the time, injustice should be avoided always all the time.

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Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (rhetoric.byu.edu). Bracketed text added by Gorgias.

Epanodos

Epanodos (e-pan’-o-dos): 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).

Uncertainty is looking for faith, faith for the foundation of trust, trust for the will to believe, belief for the motive to act.

Sadly, there’s no guaranteed connection between faith, trust, belief, and action’s consequences. Things often do not ‘turn out’ as expected. Nevertheless, we cannot jettison faith, trust, belief and action.  Ironically, claiming not to be a bearer of faith, one is claiming to have faith in not having faith. The same goes for trust.  That is, mistrust is trust, nevertheless. The same goes for belief.  That is, disbelief is belief, nevertheless. Regarding action, action inevitably conjures consequences: even inaction has consequences, as does indifference.

So, we are left with irony as the atmosphere of human existence: everything is potentially its opposite, and judgment navigates being’s endlessly revolving sphere by turning and returning to yes and no, time after time after time. . . .

So, uncertainty is looking for faith, faith for the foundation of trust, trust for the will to believe, belief for the motive to act. Looking, looking, looking–never seeing, we survive Irony’s atmosphere by attending the banquet of conversation and consuming the hooked exclamation points that pass as question marks. Being hooked, what is there left to say?

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Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (rhetoric.byu.edu).

Epanorthosis

Epanorthosis (ep-an-or-tho’-sis): Amending a first thought by altering it to make it stronger or more vehement.

The outcome of today’s referendum in Scotland will have significant consequences no matter whether it’s a yes or a no vote for independence.

No, let’s put it this way: The Pound is losing weight, the price of crude is bubbling, Johnny Walker has on his running shoes, and my grandma is in her bedroom yelling “Wha daur meddle wi me!” at her Big Ben chiming souvenir clock.

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Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (rhetoric.byu.edu)

Epenthesis

Epenthesis (e-pen’-thes-is): The addition of a letter, sound, or syllable to the middle of a word. A kind of metaplasm. NoteEpenthesis is sometimes employed in order to accommodate meter in verse; sometimes, to facilitate easier articulation of a word’s sound. It can, of course, be accidental, and a vice of speech.

The NF-UH OH-L! What’s next? Drowning kittens? Cannibalism? Drive-by mooning? Satan worship? Communist quarterbacks?

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Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (rhetoric.byu.edu).

Epergesis

Epergesis (e-per-gee’-sis): Interposing an apposition, often in order to clarify what has just been stated.

My cat, the thirty pounder, started working out today.

Instead of napping all day downstairs, he climbs the stairs around 11.00 in the morning and naps in the bathtub. Then, in the early evening he goes down the stairs and naps until around 7.00 in the living room. Then, he goes down the stairs into the basement and naps until around 10.00. Then, he goes upstairs and does his cardboard box “scratchercise” for five minutes, hurling bits of cardboard around the kitchen floor. Then, out of breath, he flops on the kitchen floor and waits for his nightly kitty treat.

Not a bad workout for a thirty-pound cat!

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Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (rhetoric.byu.edu).

Epexegesis

Epexegesis (ep-ex-e-ge’-sis): When one interprets what one has just said. A kind of redefinition or self-interpretation (often signaled by constructions such as “that is to say. . .”).

Promises are meant to be kept. That is, once made, they’re supposed to last forever. But I live in a world of change, and as change changes, I may be left holding onto a promise that may explode in my face and kill me.

What good are promises? They are only as good as their openness to revision where circumstances warrant their breaking.

Every promise should be unless, unless the promise is meant to be unkept. That is to say, when it is a lie.

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Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (rhetoric.byu.edu).

Epicrisis

Epicrisis (e-pi-cri’-sis): When a speaker quotes a certain passage and makes comment upon it.

Related figuresanamenesis–calling to memory past matters. More specifically, citing a past author from memory–and chreia (from the Greek chreiodes, “useful”) . . . “a brief reminiscence referring to some person in a pithy form for the purpose of edification.” It takes the form of an anecdote that reports either a saying, an edifying action, or both.

Pascal advises us: “Belief is a wise wager. Granted that faith cannot be proved, what harm will come to you if you gamble on its truth and it proves false?”

He gives this advice as a reason to believe in God. However belief and faith encompass far more than religion. Faith and belief are operative in everyday life. From faith in our friends, to the belief that Oxyclean will do the job on our wine-stained shorts, we “gamble.”

Unlike one’s faith in God (which does not really seem to be much of a gamble anyway), faith’s gamble on friends and laundry products can, and do, lead to harm. Our friends betray us. Our pants are ruined.

Moreover, not knowing whether we will win or lose, we must gamble if we are to face the future and act. The prospects of having friends and clean pants are worth the risk.

On Wednesday in a speech addressing the world, acting as a sort of political trustee, President Obama will place a bet for the United States. Having faith in the wisdom of his wager, he will most likely bet on war.

What if we lose?

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Definitions courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (rhetoric.byu.edu)

Epilogus

Epilogus (e-pi-lo’-gus): Providing an inference of what is likely to follow.

What’s next? Peace? War?

WE know what’s next.

THEY know what’s next.

It isn’t peace.

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Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (rhetoric.byu.edu).

Epimone

Epimone (e-pi’-mo-nee): Persistent repetition of the same plea in much the same words.

Please don’t start marching until you know where you’re going.

Please don’t start dropping bombs until you know where they should fall.

If you must do it, please do it right.

The world is on fire.

Fight fire with water.

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Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (rhetoric.byu.edu)

Epiplexis

Epiplexis (e-pi-plex’-is): Asking questions in order to chide, to express grief, or to inveigh. A kind of rhetorical question [--the speaker does not expect an answer].

When will NATO actually take action? When Ukraine is annexed? When Hell freezes over? When the cow jumps over the moon? When Putin takes his shirt off? When John Kerry gets a haircut? When?

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Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (rhetoric.byu.edu). Bracketed text added by Gorgias.

Epistrophe

Epistrophe (e-pis’-tro-fee): Ending a series of lines, phrases, clauses, or sentences with the same word or words.

The horizon. The landscape’s horizon. The future’s horizon. Time’s horizon. Life’s horizon.

Facing the horizon, we ask, “What’s next?” We answer, “We don’t know.”

Anxiety stoked, we ask again, “What’s next?” This time the question has an urgent tone.

Decision is our fate. Decision is our duty. Decision is our humanity, and our humanity is bound by imperfection, uncertainty, and agency swaying to the chiming questions tolling in our heads:

Why? Why? Why? Why?

Love? Hate? Hope? Fear?

How? How? How? How?

When? When? When? When?

Now? Never? Tomorrow? Forever?

You decide.

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Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (rhetoric.byu.edu)

Epitasis

Epitasis (e-pit’-a-sis): The addition of a concluding sentence that merely emphasizes what has already been stated. A kind of amplification. [The opposite of anesis.]

In every religious text, “doing good” is lauded and “doing evil” is vituperated. Suspended between good and evil, heaven and hell,  religious people are bound to decide which is which, why to do, and how to act in accord with a higher being’s will, aiming always all the time to everywhere “do good.”

The resulting catalog of actions motivated by “doing good” range from washing other peoples’ feet to cutting off other peoples’ heads.

All in a day history is made.  From toe to head, washing and cutting; bubbling suds, bubbling blood.

Healing and murdering.

Doing good.

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Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (rhetoric.byu.edu). Bracketed text added by Gorgias.

Epitheton

Epitheton (e-pith’-e-ton): 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.  (Note: If the description is given in place of the name, instead of in addition to it, it becomes antonomasia or periphrasis.)

D-Tape Dick is well-known for the life-sized humorous effigies he creates out of duct tape. His best known piece is “Abe Lincoln Dancing on a Fly Swatter Outside a Liquor Store.”

My favorite is “Carl Rove Bending Over With Blue Toothbrush Protruding.”

It is rumored that D-Tape Dick is currently working on a series called “Protrusions” that features additional celebrities posed with ‘signature’ protrusions. We’ve heard that Rush Limbaugh is up next, protruding a golden microphone, followed by Lady Gaga with a pork chop.

Where will it end?  Ha. Ha.

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Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (rhetoric.byu.edu)

Epitrope

Epitrope (e-pi’-tro-pe): 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.

A specific form of epitrope is the (apparent) admission of what is wrong in order to carry our point.

Go ahead, don’t vote! It doesn’t matter if another candidate gets elected that might as well come from Mars. Who cares if our mayor works for us? Who cares if our children get the best public education possible? Who cares if our police force is a pack of donut-sucking cretan lickspittles?

Have another beer.

It’s good to be an irresponsible oaf! Enjoy yourself!

A rubber bullet in the butt is just what you need!

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Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (rhetoric.byu.edu)

Epizeugma

Epizeugma (ep-i-zoog’-ma): 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.

Life ebbs in the tide of time.

Ebbs life in the tide of time.

Life in the tide of time ebbs.

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Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (rhetoric.byu.edu)

Epizeuxis

Epizeuxis (e-pi-zook’-sis): Repetition of words with no others between, for vehemence or emphasis.

400 shot in the head, the back, the stomach, the heart, the lungs, the throat and neck. Mothers. Fathers. Daughters. Sons. Brothers. Sisters. Everyone.

Kidnapped. Sold. Ransomed. Crucified. Beheaded. Burned. Buried.

Stoned to death. Beaten to death. Bled to death. To death!

Death. Death. Death. Death. Simple. Startling. Stinking. Death.

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Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (rhetoric.byu.edu).

Erotema

Erotema (e-ro-tem’-a): The rhetorical question. To affirm or deny a point strongly by asking it as a question. Generally, as Melanchthon has noted, the rhetorical question includes an emotional dimension, expressing wonder, indignation, sarcasm, etc.

Who is Putin trying to fool? When is he going to start telling the truth? When are the Russian people going to demand the truth? Today? Tonight? Now!

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Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (rhetoric.byu.edu)