Monthly Archives: June 2008


Graecismus (gree-kis’-mus): Using Greek words, examples, or grammatical structures. Sometimes considered an affectation of erudition.

There’s a kairos for everything.

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Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (


Exouthenismos (ex-ou-then-is’-mos): An expression of contempt.

You are a stain.

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Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (


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

They will not live happily ever after.  They will be hunted, caught, tried, convicted, and punished. That will be their fate. That is their future. The end.

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Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (


Distinctio (dis-tinc’-ti-o): Eliminating ambiguity surrounding a word by explicitly specifying each of its distinct meanings.

This “bar” is not a bar of soap, candy, or silver.  This bar isn’t named Joe’s Place.  It isn’t a tool to pry things loose.  It isn’t made of sand. This bar is where we bring our disputes and settle them in accord with principles of justice!

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Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (


Anastrophe (an-as’-tro-phee): Departure from normal word order for the sake of emphasis. Anastrophe is most often a synonym for hyperbaton, but is occasionally referred to as a more specific instance of hyperbaton: the changing of the position of only a single word.

Perfect, nobody is.

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Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (


Aschematiston: The use of plain, unadorned or unornamented language. Or, the unskilled use of figurative language. A vice. [Outside of any particular context of use or sense of its motive, it may be difficult to determine what's "plain, unadorned or unornamented language." The same is true of the "unskilled use of figurative language."]

1. I am.

2. It’s time to put the brakes on that tomato–it’s permeating my mind like a frozen pants suit.

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


Ratiocinatio (ra’-ti-o-cin-a’-ti-o): Reasoning (typically with oneself) by asking questions. Sometimes equivalent to anthypophora. More specifically, ratiocinatio can mean making statements, then asking the reason (ratio) for such an affirmation, then answering oneself. In this latter sense ratiocinatio is closely related to aetiologia. [As a questioning strategy, it is also related to erotima {the general term for a rhetorical question}.]

We must buy a more fuel efficient car–maybe a hybrid. Why? Gasoline prices are are rising every week. I’m paying nearly $500 per month just to drive to and from work. Even if fuel prices go down, we’ll still be ahead of the game. No matter what, saving fuel is a good thing.

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


Dicaeologia (di-kay-o-lo’-gi-a): Admitting what’s charged against one, but excusing it by necessity.

A: I got your message. One more promise broken. One more weekend blown off!

B: I’m sorry. Yes, it’s true–one more promise broken.  I should’ve told you in my message why I can’t come up. I have poison ivy all over my legs. They’re coated with lotion and they’re so swollen that I can’t drive. In fact, I can hardly walk. I really don’t have a choice about coming up. How about next weekend? I hope the poison ivy will be gone by then.

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Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (


Diaporesis: Deliberating with oneself as though in doubt over some matter; asking oneself (or rhetorically asking one’s hearers) what is the best or appropriate way to approach something [=aporia].

Many people are asking: “What does Helen want?” Well, Helen wants to know: should she stay or should she go? Come on! I really want to know! Should I stay or should I go?

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


Articulus (ar-tic’-u-lus): Roughly equivalent to “phrase” in English, except that the emphasis is on joining several phrases (or words) successively without any conjunctions (in which case articulus is simply synonymous with the Greek term asyndeton). See also brachylogia.

Articulus is also best understood in terms of differing speeds of style that depend upon the length of the elements of a sentence. The Ad Herennium author contrasts the the slower speed of concatenated membra (see membrum) to the quicker speed possible via articulus.

My yard is big, gigantic, huge! I need some sheep to keep it clipped.

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Definition and commentary courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (


Commoratio (kom-mor-a’-ti-o): Dwelling on or returning to one’s strongest argument. Latin equivalent for epimone.

Again, he has nothing new to say. His idea of change is changing places in the same old conversation with the same old partner and the same old content. The only change that takes place is whose turn it is to say the same old things–the conversation does not change. Well, it’s time to interrupt that conversation and take it in a new direction. It’s time to take our turn. It’s time to change the conversation. It’s time for a real change.

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Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (