Tag Archives: rhetoric

Articulus

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.

China. Yemen. Syria.

Hacking. Bombing. Destroying.

One word, one meaning?

Or do they all add up to a planet that’s bleeding?

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

Aschematiston

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. You smell.

2. Your tailwind is a foulwind!

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

Asphalia

Asphalia (as-fay’-li-a): Offering oneself as a guarantee, usually for another.

Jeez! He’s just a kid! If you have to blame somebody, blame me. But please, leave my little brother alone. I’ll get your Glock back from him and ground him for 10 years! He’s too stupid to take the blame. I’ll take the hit.

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

Assonance

Assonance (ass’-o-nance): Repetition of similar vowel sounds, preceded and followed by different consonants, in the stressed syllables of adjacent words.

All along the way, from tomorrow, to today, to yesterday I’ve come to see that my life is a broken promise–a promise I made to us to trust and care and always be there–like some vapid Valentine’s Day card mailed by fate and delivered too late to make me love you, the truth is, you bore me more than death.

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

Assumptio

Assumptio (as-sump’-ti’o): The introduction of a point to be considered, especially an extraneous argument. See proslepsis (When paralipsis [stating and drawing attention to something in the very act of pretending to pass it over] is taken to its extreme. The speaker provides full details.).

Today, I’m not going to talk about Sen. Cruz’s apparent insanity, Mitt Romney’s chronic indecision, or more generally, the Republican party’s cadre of nut-cases and the nearly intractable Congressional conflicts they have consistently created. Why bother to even mention their weirdness? It is, as they say “water under the bridge.” Or, more accurately, a bridge that will be under the water and washed away by the floods by discontent rolling across our nation.

In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if, on New Years Eve 2016, it started raining frogs on Arizona and Texas, with, of course, the 15th, 16th and 19th Texas Congressional districts being spared!

No, today I want to talk about the next President of the United States. She . . .

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

Asteismus

Asteismus (as-te-is’-mus): Polite or genteel mockery. More specifically, a figure of reply in which the answerer catches a certain word and throws it back to the first speaker with an unexpected twist. Less frequently, a witty use of allegory or comparison, such as when a literal and an allegorical meaning are both implied.

Marlin: This is the worst sandwich I’ve ever had!

Pat: You should’ve ordered the wurst like me. This is the best wurst I’ve ever had. Too bad your sandwich is the worst!

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

Astrothesia

Astrothesia (as-tro-the’-si-a): A vivid description of stars. One type of enargia.

Stars are heaven’s asterisks. Bright reference marks spangling night’s page, spanning it with lights. 

And after dark’s dark hours, stars yield to the sun’s single light. Then, they float on twilight’s tide toward the rising page of night.

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

Asyndeton

Asyndeton (a-syn’-de-ton): The omission of conjunctions between clauses, often resulting in a hurried rhythm or vehement effect. [Compare brachylogia. Opposite of polysyndeton.]

Run! Run! Run! Down! Down! Hurry! Run! Down! Hurry!

Museum, mall, mosque.

Main Street, temple, church.

Police station, train station, bus station.

Cafe, concert, public park.

Morning, daylight, evening, dark.

Doesn’t matter.

Pop Pop Pop

People cry.

People die.

People scatter.

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

Auxesis

Auxesis (ok-see’-sis): (1) Arranging words or clauses in a sequence of increasing force. In this sense, auxesis is comparable to climax and has sometimes been called incrementum.  (2) A figure of speech in which something is referred to in terms disproportionately large (a kind of exaggeration or hyperbole). (3) Amplification in general.

(1) See. Look. Like. Gaze. Love. Laugh. Cry. Turn. Go. (Repeat weekly for maximal heartache)

(2) My toothless aspirations chew the air behind my little cardboard sign: I am a beacon. I am a bucket. I am a pylon as high as Mars.

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

Bdelygmia

Bdelygmia (del-ig’-mi-a): Expressing hatred and abhorrence of a person, word, or deed.

Acronym: an alphabet compress pressed against the babble on. Acronym: what drips from brevity’s rotted gash.  Acronym: a partially-digested screen fed vomit chunk.

Acronym: Bandage. Pus. Puke.

LOL

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

Bomphiologia

Bomphiologia (bom-phi-o-lo’-gi-a): Exaggeration done in a self-aggrandizing manner, as a braggart.

I am the sparks in life’s fire.

I am the headless race car driver.

I butcher the beef. I am the leaf. Roll me. Light me.

I am the cure for all your pain. I am thunder naming your name:

“Tantric Smoke. Cosmic Joke. Belly Tomb. Worn Eraser. Beetle Chaser.”

In all my love,

I am your shadow. I am your fear. I am the magic that brought you here.

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

Brachylogia

Brachylogia (brach-y-lo’-gi-a): The absence of conjunctions between single words. Compare asyndeton. The effect of brachylogia is a broken, hurried delivery.

Trust me. I am your ambulance. Cane! Crutch! Wheelchair! Everything that shows I care. Electric chair. Firing squad. Beneficent God. iPod. Oatmeal. Black Seal. Golden rod. Ping pong. Overdose. Comatose. Medicare.

Now mom, here we go. With the Flow. Petroleum rivers. Gasoline falls. Diesel cataracts. Flaming gush.

You sign the waiver. I’ll pull the plug. Hush hush. No rush.

Here’s the pen.

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

Cacozelia

Cacozelia (ka-ko-zeel’-i-a): 1. A stylistic affectation of diction, such as throwing in foreign words to appear learned.  2. Bad taste in words or selection of metaphor, either to make the facts appear worse or to disgust the auditors.

Ecru! Ecru! How I adore you! Très jolieТы такая красивая! A light stain–like amarillo, like rubio, like ámbar cautioning the brown to beware: to slow the faint stripe growing on my otherwise bright, purely white, Calvin Klein underwear.

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

Catachresis

Catachresis (kat-a-kree’-sis): The use of a word in a context that differs from its proper application. This figure is generally considered a vice; however, Quintilian defends its use as a way by which one adapts existing terms to applications where a proper term does not exist.

You need to hammer that water! Swim! Swim!

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

Catacosmesis

Catacosmesis (kat-a-kos-mees’-is): Ordering words from greatest to least in dignity, or in correct order of time.

The fire ignites and speaks in fierce crackling flames. But now in the darkness its silent ashes are all that remain.

Time is a knife that shaves us away until nothing is left but a sliver in bed.

Fearing the silence, the dawn, day, and night, I moan at the wall, “There is no Phoenix. There is no cure. Bring me water and morphine and vodka and meat and wrap my dead body in a fine golden sheet.”

The wall doesn’t answer. The wall doesn’t care. The wall is a wall. It just stands there.

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

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

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

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

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).