Tag Archives: rhetoric

Cataphasis

Cataphasis (kat-af’-a-sis): A kind of paralipsis in which one explicitly affirms the negative qualities that one then passes over.

“Once again, right here, tonight, live on CNN, I am not going to ask Mitch McConnel how he managed to lose control of the Senate and put our nation’s security at risk. I’m not even going to ask him why he has such disrespect for federal employees and such a dysfunctional relationship with the Speaker of the House. I won’t even ask him how he managed to almost lose his last reelection bid.

I’m pretty sure CNN’s viewers already know the answers to those questions!

Now, you asked whether I am going to run for President of the United State of America? That, my friend, you’ll have to ask my psychiatrist! She’s the one who monitors my meds and ties me down at night.”

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

Cataplexis

Cataplexis (kat-a-pleex’-is): Threatening or prophesying payback for ill doing.

You left me stranded in the twilight zone somewhere between fire and ice, sugar and spice, nothing good and nothing nice.

Now, I’m parked in a ditch waiting for dawn, somewhere between Hell and your front lawn.  When the sun comes up, you are going down, and just like the light, I won’t make a sound.

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

Charientismus

Charientismus (kar-i-en-tia’-mus): Mollifying harsh words by answering them with a smooth and appeasing mock.

Sorry! I try my best to do my best to please you, and you try your best to do your best to please you! It’s time for this relationship to stop making you-turns and and try making some me-turns!  Better yet, let’s make a we-turn!

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

Chiasmus (ki-az’-mus): 1. Repetition of ideas in inverted order.  2. Repetition of grammatical structures in inverted order (not to be mistaken with antimetabole, in which identical words are repeated and inverted).

The US Congress is a flock of  reincarnated Dodo birds. Angry vengeful Dodo birds risen from the sand of Maritius!  You roost! You nest! Squatting there, you preen and make your garbled Dodo sounds.

Oh reincarnated Dodos, we see through your retributive ruse!

Shoo! Shoo! Get moving, you dirty bloated birds!

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

Chronographia

Chronographia (chro-no-graph’-i-a): Vivid representation of a certain historical or recurring time (such as a season) to create an illusion of reality. A kind of enargia: [the] generic name for a group of figures aiming at vivid, lively description.

My hands feel like meat-clubs. I dropped my keys in the snow. My cat is frozen to the hood of my car. Upstate New York. Winter. I think I’ll have a beer.

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

Climax (cli’-max): Generally, the arrangement of words, phrases, or clauses in an order of increasing importance, often in parallel structure.

Morning arrives and I hear your name. It drums on my head like icy rain.

It pounds my soul in cold dark streams. It smothers what’s left of my heart’s dreams.

Yes, the fire is out but I still see your name. Written in the charred rubble of what feelings remain.

Over and over I burn and I freeze.  My love for you has become a disease.

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

Coenotes

Coenotes (cee’-no-tees): Repetition of two different phrases: one at the beginning and the other at the end of successive paragraphs. Note: Composed of anaphora and epistrophecoenotes is simply a more specific kind of symploce (the repetition of phrases, not merely words).

Give me a break!

You still don’t believe I love you? Wait to you see what I got you for Valentines Day! Voila!

You still don’t believe I love you? But the hairbrush is made out of wood with real pig bristles! Ok! Ok! Relax! Here we go! Take Two. Voila!

You still don’t believe I love you? But you’ve always wanted a super-wide Swedish spatula! Wait! Wait! Ok. Well, here’s the clincher! Voila!

Yes, yes, yes, now you know I love you! Yes–your very own Fifty Shades of Grey “Please, Sir Flogger!” Now you know why I gave you a hairbrush and a spatula too!

Yup!

Hanky panky spanky time!

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

Colon (ko’-lon): Roughly equivalent to “clause” in English, except that the emphasis is on seeing this part of a sentence as needing completion, either with a second colon (or membrum) or with two others (forming a tricolon). When cola (or membra) are of equal length, they form isocolon.

Colon or membrum 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 slower speed of concatenated membra to the quicker speed of words joined together without conjunction (articulus).

I ate; I drank; I farted.

Go in, stay in.

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

Commoratio

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

The Internet is a ‘visible hand’ that releases and captures, captures and releases, displays and replays, replays and displays and strokes and stokes the reckless carnality of the 21st century.

From “I love F***ing Science” to “I love F***ing,” it’s gamut is gut-wrenching.  It prostitutes curiosity. It hollows out the truth. Its censor is psychosis. It cannot be cured.

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

Comparatio

Comparatio (com-pa-ra’-ti-o): A general term for a comparison, either as a figure of speech or as an argument. More specific terms are generally employed, such as metaphorsimileallegory, etc.

Your argument is like an I3-graded diamond: We give it a 10 (1 being the highest). Its flaws are so numerous and obvious that it is absolutely worthless. A piece of junk. Off to the bin with it!

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

Comprobatio

Comprobatio (com-pro-ba’-ti-o): Approving and commending a virtue, especially in the hearers.

Today is a day of cheer and hope for all of you children who’re graduating! It is time for you to be rewarded so your self esteem may blossom, bloom and go to seed, and of course, so our audience members can be here!

On behalf of  The Butterflies & Bluebirds Foreschool for Acceptable Toddlers, I say, “There are no winners or losers at B.B.FAT,  just doers!”

Accordingly, with a big happy face and a knowing wink, I take great pride in awarding all of you clearly acceptable toddlers with a framed parchment B.B.FAT certificate for being Doo Doo Doers and not gloaty winners or whiny losers.  Yes, every single one of you with no exceptions whatsoever will receive this Certificate of  Having Done Lots of Things.

Stay seated! We will hand out your certificates shortly! Stay seated please! Please remain seated!

Now, after you’ve gotten your certificate and had your picture taken with your parent, parents, and/or the person driving you home, go and DO something! Maybe toddle around your living room or make a dumpy? Why? Because you’re a Doo-Doo-Doer!

Doo-Doo, Doo-Doo, Doo-Doo. You’re all Doo-Doo-Doers. And that’s very acceptable!

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

Conduplicatio

Conduplicatio (con-du-pli-ca’-ti-o): The repetition of a word or words. A general term for repetition sometimes carrying the more specific meaning of repetition of words in adjacent phrases or clauses. Sometimes used to name either ploce or epizeuxis.

The stars are brightly shining tonight. The stars are pinholes in the shroud of night. Sunrise pulls the shroud away. Sunset pulls it back again. And we, we humans, connect the stars together, tracing imaginative and invisible arcs bridging the gaps of darkness, star by star. Doing so, we romance the night sky’s randomness into guides and graphs and sky-borne bookmarks of gods, goddesses, and signs of the future foretold by birth.

So stars in sooth may stay the vexations of carnality, consciousness, and time, offering comfort to knowing that what is temporary is what we are.

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

Congeries

Congeries (con’ger-eez): Piling up words of differing meaning but for a similar emotional effect [(akin to climax)].

Snow, buried, blizzard, frozen, freezing, shoveling, plowing, salting, sobbing.

From Machias, to Merrimac they’re sobbing for the collapsing roofs.

They’s sobbing for the burning homes.

They’re sobbing for the bursting pipes.

And worst of all, because of you, Juno, they’re sobbing at the wailing sirens–at the flashing lights of ambulances saving the injured and delivering the dead.

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

Consonance

Consonance: The repetition of consonants in words stressed in the same place (but whose vowels differ). Also, a kind of inverted alliteration, in which final consonants, rather than initial or medial ones, repeat in nearby words. Consonance is more properly a term associated with modern poetics than with historical rhetorical terminology.

Pack, trek, seek–week after week, always searching for the time of your life as your life runs out of time. If you want to find the time of your life, stop, look, and listen: you may see somebody to love and hear the echoes of a lost incarnation–of a nearly sacred voice, warm and shy and from a time together.  Standing there, you will struggle to remember each other.

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

Correctio

Correctio (cor-rec’-ti-o): The amending of a term or phrase just employed; or, a further specifying of meaning, especially by indicating what something is not (which may occur either before or after the term or phrase used). A kind of redefinition, often employed as a parenthesis (an interruption) or as a climax.

This is not a drill!  It’s a pipe wrench and I’m going to whack you in the head with it if you don’t stop humming that damn Mario Brothers chip-tune!

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

Deesis

Deesis (de’-e-sis): An adjuration (solemn oath) or calling to witness; or, the vehement expression of desire put in terms of “for someone’s sake” or “for God’s sake.”

I swear by the hood ornament on my Rolls, if you don’t eat your caviar I will ground you for a fortnight, spank little Oodles with my cricket bat and show your soiled linens to your school chums!

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

Dehortatio

Dehortatio (de-hor-ta’-ti-o): Dissuasion.

Last week you told me that you were going to climb Mt. Everest. This week it’s “try out for the NY Yankees.” What’ll be next week? Discover America?

Look, you’re way past your prime. Instead of going ‘Quixote’ on me, why not set a goal that’s within your grasp like taking a shower and changing your underwear?

Bottom line: Stop kidding yourself. Impossible dreams are for teenagers, not grandfathers.

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

Diacope

Diacope (di-a’-co-pee): Repetition of a word with one or more between, usually to express deep feeling.

Me crazy?

You think I’m crazy? You save your toenail clippings in Ziploc bags and hang them on a hook in your closet!

Me crazy?

What about the time you smeared mustard on the bathroom wall as an air freshener?

Me crazy?

You’re the one who’s crazy!

What do you think of that, nut case? Why don’t you put mustard on your toenails?

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

Dialogismus

Dialogismus (di-a-lo-giz’-mus): 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.

In 1967 Tammy Wynette sang,

“Last night all alone in a barroom met a man with a drink in his hand.
He had baby blue eyes, coal black hair, and a smile that a girl understands.
Then he came and sat down at my table and as he placed his hand over mine,
I found myself wanting to kiss him for temptation was flowing like wine . . . “

Tammy, what were you thinking? If you hadn’t seen the reflection of your wedding band in that guy’s eyes when you were dancing, you may have had the time of your life! Instead, you went home.

That’s why unfaithful spouses should own, exchange, and wear EZ-OFF Wedding Bands.

When “maybe” is the first word that occurs to you when you’re asked to say “I do,” the EZ-OFF Wedding Band is just what you need! Designed in 14 “gold” and cleverly disguised as a legitimate wedding band, the EZ-OFF looks, feels, and wears like the “real” thing! And it’s high tech too!

To remove the EZ-OFF, simply put your wedding band hand in your pocket, tap the code into your ring with your thumb, and that symbol of eternal love expands and silently glides off your finger on its retractable patented micro-wheels!

No more awkward pulling and tugging on the ring under the table! No more “I have to go to the restroom for a minute” to soap-up and twist off!  Never again will you have to explain that you wear a wedding band in memory of your dead spouse!

Tammy, it’s 2014! Don’t let those old-fashioned wedding bands keep your granddaughters and grandsons from steppin’ out!

Imagine, Tammy, if you had an EZ-OFF back in ’67! Mmmmm hmmmm!

Well, YOU–yes, you, you lusty viewer can have an EZ-OFF now! That’s right! Right now!

But you ask: How much is the EZ-OFF?

Well get ready because it’s not $1,000,000,000.00! It’s not even $500,000.00. Right now today or tonight or tomorrow, you can have your very own solid 14 “gold” EZ-OFF Wedding Band for the low low price of 50 payments of  $9.99!!

But wait, that’s not all! If you are one the first 14,000 soulless wretches to call within the next 20 minutes, we’ll throw in an additional EZ-OFF free of charge! Give it as a gift to one of your cheating lying friends! Sell it on E-Bay! Hang it from your rear view mirror! Yup–it’s yours to do with as you will, totally free of charge!

Now!

Call: 1-800-TO-CHEAT! Robo-prompters are standing by to tell you which buttons to press on your phone!

Don’t wait! You deserve it! Call: 1-800-TO-CHEAT without delay.

Don’t miss the next opportunity to “grab some fun!”

Don’t be a boo hoo 1967 Tammy!

Call: 1-800-TO-CHEAT!

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

Dianoea

Dianoea (di-a-noe’-a): The use of animated questions and answers in developing an argument (sometimes simply the equivalent of anthypophora).

Where was I last night? Where do you think I was? In the garage? In the recycling bin? In your closet listening to you and my best friend Ed making the bed squeak? What do you take me for? A fool? An idiot? A patsy? An overgrown carrot?  A piece of carry-on luggage? A horse’s ass?

I’m a what?  A lost Fedex driver with guitar strings in his pants and an unaddressed package wrapped in panty hose bouncing around under his seat? Yes! Yes! Yes! That’s me!

Do you want to know what’s in that package? Do you care whether it’s Ed’s head, or a bundt cake, or a tambourine? You have one guess and you better be right! What? Emptiness? The emptiness of our lives together? Bah!

WRONG!

SURPRISE! It’s a tambourine, and yes! Yes indeed! That is Ed’s face stretched across the frame! Want a piece of bundt cake? Come on!  Let’s sing!  “Hey Mr. Tambourine Man play a song for me. . . . “

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

Diaphora

Diaphora (di-a’-pho-ra): 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.

The police are not the police when they attack and injure unarmed citizens they’re supposed protect and defend.

Just think, if all  “enforcement officials” were permitted to shoot unarmed people who “threatened” them with rage-filled snarly looks!  NFL referees could pack Glocks with their penalty flags, and civility would reign for “the whole nine yards.” It would be like NYC where civility reigns for the “whole nine blocks” from Central Park South to 48th Street.

Right?

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

Diaporesis

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].

What should we do? Do about what? What we should do. And that is? Addressing myself as ‘we’ when I am talking to me. To me? Yes, to you! Wait!  On the one hand you talk to yourself, on the other, you listen to yourself talking to myself. I think your self and my self are the self-same self!

Now, what should we do? A duet? A duel?

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

Diaskeue

Diaskeue (di-as-keu’-ee): Graphic peristasis (description of circumstances) intended to arouse the emotions.

Stabbed, the schoolteacher’s heart spit up its warm sustenance . Dry clotted footprints run across the cold tiled floor.

This is Abu Dhabi,  and this is anywhere where defenseless humans are slaughtered in public by lunatic zealots; by blades, bullets, bombs and stones.

We mourn the death of Ms. Ryan. We also mourn hatred’s conquering of public space even as we mourn the death of its spirit of charity and grace.

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

Diasyrmus

Diasyrmus (di’-a-syrm-os): Rejecting an argument through ridiculous comparison.

Claiming that you shot your mother because her smile irritated you is like claiming you sawed your foot off because you had a blister.

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

Diazeugma

Diazeugma (di-a-zoog’-ma): The figure by which a single subject governs several verbs or verbal constructions (usually arranged in parallel fashion and expressing a similar idea); the opposite of zeugma.

I couldn’t find my needle because my metal detector’s battery was dead, the haystack was on fire, and I was drunk.

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Definition courtesy of Silva Rhetoricae (rhetoric.byu.edu) Continue reading