Monthly Archives: October 2007


Anacoluthon (an-a-co-lu’-thon): A grammatical interruption or lack of implied sequence within a sentence. That is, beginning a sentence in a way that implies a certain logical resolution, but concluding it differently than the grammar leads one to expect. Anacoluthon can be either a grammatical fault or a stylistic virtue, depending on its use. In either case, it is an interruption or a verbal lack of symmetry. Anacoluthon is characteristic of spoken language or interior thought, and thus suggests those domains when it occurs in writing.

My Saab averages 30 miles per gallon of gas–who needs a hybrid?

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Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (


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

The operation was a complete success! As a team, as expected (as ever) you displayed courage, resourcefulness, and camaraderie–three key virtues that have enabled us to successfully complete our missions without losing anybody; no matter how weird it gets out there and no matter how many unexpected events we encounter along the way!

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Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (


Procatalepsis (pro-cat-a-lep’-sis): Refuting anticipated objections.

You may believe that my proposal is not warranted by law or expediency. You may believe it does not look far enough into the future or take into account the contingencies that may thwart the fulfillment of its aims. Well, I’m here today to tell you that it is lawful, practical, and forward-looking, and that it explicitly addresses all the conceivable pitfalls that lie ahead! First, as far as its legality is concerned . . .

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Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (


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

Wow! I never expected a new Ducati for my birthday. Thank you so much–there’s no way I’ll ever be able to match this one on your birthday! You are the best! Want to go for a ride?

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Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (


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

Hope may enable you to persevere, but on the other hand, it may keep you stuck in a rut without realizing it!

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Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (


Merismus (mer-is’-mus): The dividing of a whole into its parts.

My truck has a rusted body, bald tires, a clattering engine, squeaky brakes, a broken radio, worn out seats, a cracked windshield, and a smoky tailpipe. Should I call the junkyard?

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Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (


Aposiopesis (a-pos-i-o-pee’-sis): Breaking off suddenly in the middle of speaking, usually to portray being overcome with emotion.

And then the fire came over the hill right toward me–it was moving so fast–it was–oh, please, I can’t talk about it–it was–I can’t, I can’t–please turn off the camera!

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Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (


Aetiologia (ae-ti-o-log’-i-a): A figure of reasoning by which one attributes a cause for a statement or claim made, often as a simple relative clause of explanation.

The times we’re living through are puzzling, rough, and uncertain. I say this today because, once again, I awoke to the drumbeat of another disaster pulsing through the news–on the radio, on the Internet, in the newspaper, in high definition on TV.

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Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (


Optatio (op-ta’-ti-o): Expressing a wish, often ardently

There’s too much weirdness in the world! If only I could have one normal day–I wish the hours would pass like big fluffy clouds–just one normal day–that’s all I want–one normal day!

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Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetorica” (


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

We must never forget the sacrifice these young men and women made. They are gone, and the promise they made to serve their country has been more than fulfilled.  Let us remember their patriotism and their courage.  We are grateful for what they endured and gave their lives for–we must never forget–they went into harm’s way on our behalf. So, in many different ways, we are all affected by their loss and offer our heartfelt condolences to their families, friends, and comrades.

And I swear before almighty God that I will do everything in my power to ensure that these good people did not die in vain. I will not let them down. This I promise to you: we will defeat the enemy. We will win this war. We will have peace.

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Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (


Synathroesmus (sin-ath-res’-mus): 1. The conglomeration of many words and expressions either with similar meaning (= synonymia) or not (= congeries).  2. A gathering together of things scattered throughout a speech (= accumulatio [:Bringing together various points made throughout a speech and presenting them again in a forceful, climactic way. A blend of summary and climax.])

She was smart, intelligent, brilliant.  She was a genius!


He was crazy, lazy, wealthy, wicked, and wonderful–he was my father!


This 30-year-old yo-yo stole $500 and 10 lotto tickets from his grandmother! His 82-year-old grandmother! His own flesh and blood! She raised him.  She fed him. She clothed him. She loaned him money. She nursed him back to health when he nearly died from a motorcycle accident! In short, she’s always loved him like she was his own mother. And what did he do in return?  He climbed through her bedroom window one warm summer night, scared her half to death with this ski mask pulled over his face, and stole her cash–her rent and her grocery money–and her lotto tickets too!

In sum, this loser wrote the book on shameless self-absorbed hateful greed–he is a model of wanton sleaze–a perfect picture of ingratitude–a paradigm of criminal treachery!

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Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (


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

This morning I was up at 3.45–I had to drive my daughter to school to catch the bus for her class trip. As we came out the back door, we saw the big dipper low over the treetops in the northeastern sky. As we rode down the hill toward school, we were both struck by the sudden appearance of a brilliant star–maybe a planet–reflecting the beautiful speeding light that races in and out of every day and every night! Sunrise. Sunset. The night sky. The stars. Wow!

And, as we said “Wow” together, there together, being together, happy together, riding together, my heart ached with the painful realization that this moment would not come again. So, I wrote it into The Daily Trope to give that moment a chance to virtually repeat itself again and again.

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Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (


Topographia (top-o-graf’-i-a): Description of a place. A kind of enargia [: {en-ar’-gi-a} generic name for a group of figures aiming at vivid, lively description].

Our cabin in the woods is one mile off the road over a narrow dirt track with a locked chain across its entrance that says in big red letters “Keep Out”. The road winds up a steep hill past huge white pines, maples, birches, and a few scraggly cherry trees. The cabin is one room–12 by 18 feet.  It has no plumbing or electricity. Outside, it’s covered by bat & board pine siding–inside, rough unfinished plywood panels. It has dark-green shingles and a rusty stove-pipe sticking out of the roof. There are seven windows looking in all directions–through the woods, over the valley, across the lake, down the hill. There’s a wood-stove with a dirty blue carpet in front of it, and pushed up against two windows looking over the valley is an old chipped-up white porcelain-topped table with three squeaky white chairs around it. There’s a gun rack, fishing poles, two canoe paddles, a fold out queen-sized bed, a folded-up cot, three sets of snowshoes, and a narrow counter with a Coleman stove on it along with mugs, and a tea kettle.  Hanging from one of the rafters is a kerosene lamp–black and gold.  There’s a small bookcase by the couch filled with children’s books on the top shelf and firewood on the bottom.

Many happy family memories live in that cabin in the woods–hot chocolate, reading out loud, listening to sounds at night–the waterfall, the crickets, the coyotes, the owls. What a place!

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


Metaphor (met’-a-phor): A comparison made by referring to one thing as another.

Time is a blister on eternity.

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


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.

Immunity from prosecution? Again? Why can’t we operate within the law in the first place? Have we come to a point in American history where immunity is crime’s reward?

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Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (


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 our point.

Sure, you can do what you want to do–go ahead–quit your job, leave my sister, abandon my little baby niece.  Go ahead–have some real fun! I won’t come looking for you. I won’t track you down. I won’t hurt you.

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Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (


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 epistrophe, coenotes is simply a more specific kind of symploce (the repetition of phrases, not merely words).

What is the purpose of government? To manage the state’s finances; always to serve the res publica.What is the purpose of government? To enact, revise, and enforce the law; always to serve the res publica.

What is the purpose of government? To raise, equip, and train an effective fighting force; always to serve the res publica.

What is the purpose of government? Always, to serve the res publica!

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Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (


Kategoria (ka-te-go’-ri-a): Opening the secret wickedness of one’s adversary before his [or her] face.

Do you deny that you cherry picked statistics to make things look a whole lot better than they really are–that you hid an army of pertinent facts with charts and graphs that, as we have come to find out, simply ignore the whole truth? Do you expect us to believe that these two or three dim points of light, in what we now clearly see as the middle of the night, ever heralded a new dawn?

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


Epitasis (e-pit’-a-sis): The addition of a concluding sentence that merely emphasizes what has already been stated. A kind of amplification. [The opposite of anesis.]

We must eliminate crime from our city! From every neighborhood!

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


Appositio (ap-po-sit’-i-o): Addition of an adjacent, coordinate, explanatory or descriptive element.

My new computer, the fastest desktop ever made, has a footprint that’s smaller than a shoebox and a 10-tetrabyte hard drive!

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Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (


Tricolon (tri-co’-lon): Three parallel elements of the same length occurring together in a series.

 My wife. My life. My love!

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Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (

Buy a print edition of The Daily Trope! The print edition is entitled The Book of Tropes and is available on Amazon for $9.99.


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.

The zeitgeist of our tempus is a roux of decaying bourgeois roadkills!

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Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (


Oxymoron (ox-y-mo’-ron): Placing two ordinarily opposing terms adjacent to one another. A compressed paradox.

Zealous temperance is moderation’s vice.

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Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (


Apagoresis (a-pa-gor’-e-sis): A statement designed to inhibit someone from doing something. Often uses exaggeration [or hyperbole] to persuade. It may combine an exaggeration with a cause/effect or antecedent/consequence relationship. The consequences or effects of such a phrase are usually exaggerated to be more convincing.  

If you get a tattoo, your your father will have a heart attack and your mother will cut your arm off!

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


Anthimeria (an-thi-mer’-i-a): Substitution of one part of speech for another (such as a noun used as a verb [or a verb used as a noun]).

I’m baseballed to the max! Are you ready for some football?


I had a good compute with my calculator!

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