Periphrasis


Periphrasis (per-if’-ra-sis): 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. (Circumlocutions are rhetorically useful as euphemisms, as a method of amplification, or to hint at something without stating it.)

Mother Romney is no Mother Theresa.  She’s no mother Hubbard either. NEVER a Ma Kettle! No my friends, if she’s anybody, she’s  a regular Olivia Walton. The only difference is that Ann has two Cadillacs & Olivia had no Cadillacs.

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

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