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

There’s too much stuff piling up on the dining room table. Periodicals. Bills. Catalogs. Newspapers. Empty coffee mugs. Dead flowers. A bundt cake. Potato chips. Crackers. Empty wine bottle. And more.

We need to clear it off!

Who’s going to make the first move? You help me, and I you.

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


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

It snowed for three days as the temperature hovered around zero fahrenheit. Sadly, a small group of homeless people froze to death under the blanket of snow. Five people killed because of the snow and the temperature and our failure to find them and give them the option of being transported to one of the city’s many homeless shelters.

We need to be more proactive in finding homeless people and letting them know there are shelters and, if desired, taking them to one the shelters. Our city’s shelters are warm and their food is good. In addition to having a hot meal, there are beds and showers, and free laundromats.

We can’t ignore the the plight of homeless people. As human beings, they deserve our respect and support. So, keep an eye out for them and show them that we care by offering them assistance in finding and taking shelter.

Thank you.

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


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

Tonight, I will steal, yet be known as honorable.

For what I steal will be sold and the money distributed to those who really need it.

I am an honest and generous thief.

Call me “Robbing Hood.”

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


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.

Hey! Stop! Stay where you are and listen to my riddle:

“The more you take, the more you leave behind.”

What’s the answer to this riddle?

It’s footsteps: the more you take the more you leave behind.

Okay, be patient, I’m getting to my point and here it is:

When you come in after playing outside in the snow, stay on the tiled entryway until you’ve taken off  your boots! Then, when you step into the living room, walk across its carpet into the kitchen, and grab a snack out of the refrigerator,  all you’ll leave behind will be steps–not snowy, slushy or muddy footprints.

So, take the necessary step (ha ha): take off your boots before you step on the living room carpet.

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


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 kitchen counter is covered with spillage from your most recent heartfelt attempt to make a figgy pudding (by the way, if I have to listen to any more Bing Crosby Christmas songs, I’m going to pull off my ears and feed them to our neighbor’s Wolf-a-poo).

Anyway, the counter-top cleanser is under the sink. You can see the sponges from where you’re standing, and the scrub brush (just in case) is under the sink too, next to the cleanser. There’s a huge roll of paper towels on the sink too.

But before I go to bed, let’s have some “figgy pudding and a cup of good cheer” and talk briefly about the “good tidings” Bing has supposedly brought us.

Here’s my problem: Bing has been making the “tidings”promise to me for the past 51 Christmases–and so far nothing’s shown up, either glad or sad, and to make things worse, Bing has been dead for awhile. Can he bring tidings from the other side? Maybe I don’t know what a “tiding” is? I’m going to look “tiding” up.

I looked it up!

What’s the point of singing about tidings–giving musical  announcements at Christmas in lieu of something more substantial:  I’d much rather have some cool driving gloves from Santa than an ‘announcement’ from Bing. The way it’s set up in the song, tidings are just an excuse to indulge in figgy pudding and alcoholic beverages. So Bing’s tiding is an excuse to eat a desert cake and down a few hot toddys. I guess that’s ok with me.

Merry Christmas! Good tidings to you (with a side order of cake and rum).

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


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. You better take an umbrella. It is raining outside. (Possible implied premises: you want to stay dry.  The umbrella will keep you dry because it is specifically designed to do so [if you use it properly].)

2. If virtue is an ideal that should be pursued, vice should be avoided. (Vice is contrary to virtue.)

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


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).

I am not sure where all the vote recounting is taking us, or even why it is being done. It’s a waste of time and money.

We started out conversing about recounts when Trump ‘threatened’ a recount if he didn’t win the election. His ‘threat’ was characterized as more or less unsportsmanlike–at any rate as somehow wrong and maybe even a little whacky.

Now, a recount is being undertaken. Surely the Green Party candidate does not expect to pull out victories in Wisconsin and  Pennsylvania. But we hear whispers that the Democratic candidate is helping sponsor the recounts too–again I say: I’m not sure where all the vote recounting is taking us, or even why it is being done. It is a waste of time and money.

I will be shocked and probably die of a heart attack if anything changes with the election as a result of the recounts. I think I heard today that 5,000 votes for Trump were found in Wisconsin  that shouldn’t have gone to him. That puts a mini-dent (a tiny pock mark) in the 20-something thousand he won by in Wisconsin.

Bottom line: What’s the point. Somebody tell me why we’re recounting votes? 5,000 misappropriated votes don’t answer the question.

But hey–if you play the lotto: “You never know.” Who knows, maybe there will be a miracle and Clinton will take Wisconsin and Pennsylvania.

Ha ha! Fat chance. The recount is pointless. It is a waste of time and money.

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


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

The American people anxiously await the outcome as President-elect Trump works to put his cabinet together.

Or put another way: The American people are pooping in their pants as they await the outcome and pray that WWIII can be averted  as Trump announces his Cabinet appointees.

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


Epenthesis (e-pen’-thes-is): The addition of a letter, sound, or syllable to the middle of a word. A kind of metaplasmNoteEpenthesis 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.

What happened to the good old days? Back when we j-a-umped for joy at the smallest provocation. Now, I’d doubt if I’d even jump for joy if I won the lottery.

Joy is priceless and jumping for joy is divine–it’s like an angel trying out its wings.

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


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

My Cow, Two-ton Nellie, just had two calves. We just thought she was big! What a surprise! Even the vet didn’t catch it. Hmmm. I wonder, given his supposed expertise, what what wrong.

Well, it does not matter. Everybody’s healthy and we’ve renamed Two-ton Nellie, Half-ton Nellie. We think she likes her new name!

We’ve named the calves Popeye and Bluto–yup, they are little baby bulls.

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


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. . .”).

There is nothing more important than the truth. That is, the truth is rooted in fact, and facts are real. If we ignore the truth under any circumstances, we risk far more than the small effect of a menial once-told lie. That is to say, truth keeps us from harm. Errors are to be expected, but once told, the truth must stand until a good reason is brought to bear that will motivate “us” to reject it.

I use the term “us” with a cautionary note: some other “us” is “them” to “us,” as far as “they” may not be willing at act upon what “we” take to be self-evidently true. That is, truth must be believed to be acted upon: where belief is lacking , a given “truth” has no status as such–as a motive to action it is void.

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


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.

Aristotle tells us “Love is composed of a single soul inhabiting two bodies.”

If this quote is accurate, it may shed light on ancient ideas of the threesome: “I’ll be the soul, you two be the bodies. Let’s go!”

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


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

There is no room for optimism. There will not be a mending of fences. There will be a wall. The end.

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


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

Be patient. Have patience. Relax. Don’t rush. Cool your jets. Wait a couple of months before you apply for Canadian citizenship. Who knows? Maybe this will somehow all work out for the better.

Hmmmmm. Probably not.

Fasten your seat belts. Adjust your mirrors. Start your engines. Roll up your windows. On to Canada!

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

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 we stop hearing about those ‘Clinton’ emails? When the internet is destroyed? When Trump has his mouth sewn shut?

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


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 your point.

Go ahead, stay home on Election Day! It’s no big deal. Why bother to vote? Who cares! It’s rigged anyway. It’s all about who has the most money and who’s the most corrupt.

Yeah–that’s right: Stay home on Election Day. It’s no big deal. Be an idiot. Throw away your opportunity to change things.


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


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.

There is nothing like time’s rush.

Being free, patience waits.

Waiting, without rushing to wait, time passes.

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


Epizeuxis: Repetition of the same word, with none between, for vehemence. Synonym for palilogia.

Go! Go! Go!

You can get there! You’re only 12 miles away–don’t let your bare feet slow you down.

Keep moving and I bet you won’t get frostbite!

Go! Go!

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


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.

Do you really think Trump is somehow going to become sane, well-balanced and mature if he’s elected President?

He is what he is. He isn’t going to change.

In fact, can you imagine what could become the norm for White House social gatherings: Rose Garden Gropings?

Whatever it is, it won’t be good.

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


Eucharistia (eu-cha-ris’-ti-a): Giving thanks for a benefit received, sometimes adding one’s inability to repay.

X: I can’t believed how helpful you’ve been. I didn’t have a chance, and literally one snap of your fingers and I’m promoted to VP!

I am eternally grateful for your kindness. I can never repay you.

D: I’m glad you mentioned “eternally” as the duration of your gratitude. That’s just what I had in mind.

When you asked for it, you knew my famous ‘finger snap’ is not gratis. You knew repayment was part of the deal–you were just too stupid to ask exactly how the repayment was to be made–what form it would take.

X: Oh my God! I never believed you could actually do it.

D: Well, sorry about this being so soon after your promotion, but it’s time . . .

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


Euche (yoo’-kay): A vow to keep a promise.

ME: I will faithfully keep my promise to you.

You: Which promise? You’ve made so many promises–I’m losing track.

Me: Let’s edit that: I will faithfully keep my promises to you. If I put it in the plural, I don’t have to specify which one!

You: Clever, but let’s face it, two weeks ago you promised to clear the leaves out of the gutters. Now there’s two feet of snow on the roof and there are still leaves in the gutters.

Me: Well, I didn’t break my promise, I just haven’t kept it yet. There’s a huge difference!

You: Yeah, the difference is so huge it sounds like bullshit.

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


Eulogia (eu-lo’-gi-a): Pronouncing a blessing for the goodness in a person.

You have gone above the call of duty. You have gone beyond the call of duty. I don’t know what ‘Duty’ says when it calls, maybe somethin’ like “Get off your butt” or “Get your head out of your ass.” And I don’t know how ‘Duty’ feels about you goin’ above and beyond it, but I’ll tell you Laura-Bob, we don’t care what duty thinks, feels, or says about anythin’ because we are grateful to you for saving our prize chicken Toni from the clothes dryer.

Elmo was bad for puttin’ her in there, but it gave you a chance to be good by pullin’ her out.

As you can see, we’ve given Elmo the spankin’ of a lifetime–why the back of his britches is smokin’ like a wet campfire. Ain’t that right Elmo? You little dickens!

So, to conclude this little speech: Laura-Bob, your goodness passes my ability to capture it in words. Let’s just say we and Toni are grateful you saved her. As a token of our forever thankfulness, we will be sure to give you Toni’s next egg. Elmo will deliver it with a smile on his regretful face. It may take a few days before she’s layin’ again, so just be patient–a promise is a promise–you’ll get that egg, special from Toni.

Thank you.

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

Post your own eulogia on the “Comments” page!

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


Eustathia (yoos-tay’-thi-a): Promising constancy in purpose and affection.

ME: I am your shopping cart with wings. I am your forever piece of string. I will hug you until you are flat.  I will get you a big ring with a shiny gem and a very small monthly payment. I will ask you a big question (probably on your birthday, but no sooner). I will stick around for a long time.

Don’t you see what I’m trying to say?

YOU: No.

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


Eutrepismus (eu-tre-pis’-mus): Numbering and ordering the parts under consideration. A figure of division, and of ordering.

There are two answers to the following question: 1. Yes. 2. No. “I don’t know” is not an option.

Were you at home last night from 9-11pm?

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


Exergasia (ex-er-ga’-si-a): Repetition of the same idea, changing either its words, its delivery, or the general treatment it is given. A method for amplification, variation, and explanation. As such, exergasia compares to the progymnasmata exercises (rudimentary exercises intended to prepare students of rhetoric for the creation and performance of complete practice orations).

My shoe. My shoe. I lost my left shoe.

Uh oh. I can’t find my right shoe either.

Where are my shoes? Taking a vacation?

Where are my shoes? On the way to a landfill?

Where are my shoes? I don’t care about your shoes. I’m looking for my shoes!

Where are my shoes? I know where my socks are! Look–they’re on my feet! I’m looking for my shoes!

I give up. I’ll order a new pair of shoes from Zappos. So, I’ll be here at least another two days waiting for them to arrive. I hope you don’t mind.

What! You found my shoes?

What? You’re going to stick them up my what? Please don’t.

I hid them under the bed so I could spend another couple of days with you while I waited for my new pair from Zappos.

Don’t you see? I love you. I just want to spend more time with you.

Wait! Those aren’t my shoes.

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