Monthly Archives: April 2010


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

I made so much money selling off bad mortgages that they call me the Golden Dumpster. I am the King of Faulty Futures–the Prime Minister of Mists and Mirrors–the Emperor of Empty Promises! I’m the richest guy on the planet and the biggest sucker-maker in the universe! You can bank on it.

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Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (


Heterogenium (he’-ter-o-gen-i-um): Avoiding an issue by changing the subject to something different. Sometimes considered a vice.

Was I at Roxy’s last night with your wife? That’s beside the point–your wife, my wife, anybody’s wife–I can’t believe how hard it was to find a place to park! You know, long-term, I think we need more parking–free parking–all over the city. That’s what I’m going to push for in my reelection campaign–free parking! Now, let’s grab a beer and talk about my campaign.

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Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (


Aporia (a-po’-ri-a): 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 [=diaporesis].

I could vote “yes” on this Wall Street reform package–or I could vote “no” on it. If I vote “yes” I might not get reelected. If I vote “no” I might not get reelected. Let’s see, maybe I should abstain. No!  I’m going to vote “yes” because it’s the right thing to do–it’s what is best for you: the American people, my constituents.

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


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

You took my home, my wife, my children, my money, my self-esteem–you took the rest of my life! But hey–there is one more thing you should takeyou should take a look over your shoulder every five minutes for the rest of your life! You never know when somebody might sneak up behind you and ‘thank’ you for all you’ve done.

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Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (


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.]

The car was low slung, loudly rumbling, ready to race.

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


Antimetabole (an-ti-me-ta’bo-lee): Repetition of words, in successive clauses, in reverse grammatical order.

Like what you want. Want what you like. Be satisfied with what you get.

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Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (


Epistrophe (e-pis’-tro-fee): Ending a series of lines, phrases, clauses, or sentences with the same word or words.

I’ve have contacted all the witnesses relevant to the case. You’ve gathered all the documents relevant to the case. We’ve discussed every possible motive relevant to the case.  We still have a long way to go, but I think we’re making progress.

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Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (


Antanaclasis (an’-ta-na-cla’-sis): The repetition of a word or phrase whose meaning changes in the second instance.

The government certainly has the right to tax us, but let’s make sure the taxes are right.

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Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (


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

We went from caring to despairing, to repairing, to sharing the best days (and nights) of our lives!

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Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (


Abecedarian (a-be-ce-da’-ri-an): An acrostic whose letters do not spell a word but follow the order (more or less) of the alphabet.

A beautiful cow danced elegantly for her elementary school’s spring play–it was my 8-year-old daughter rocking out in the cow costume we made.

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Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (


Litotes (li-to’-tees): Deliberate understatement, especially when expressing a thought by denying its opposite. The Ad Herennium author suggests litotes as a means of expressing modesty (downplaying one’s accomplishments) in order to gain the audience’s favor (establishing ethos).

When I saved the company from financial disaster, I was only doing my job.

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Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (


Anaphora (an-aph’-o-ra): Repetition of the same word or group of words at the beginning of successive clauses, sentences, or lines.

Health care reform was our hope. Health care reform is now the law. It’s what we fought for, and yet, it’s still a work in progress. Let’s keep making progress! Let’s finish the job! Let’s make it universal!

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Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (

Scesis Onomaton

Scesis Onomaton (ske’-sis o-no’-ma-ton): 1. A sentence constructed only of nouns and adjectives (typically in a regular pattern).  2. A series of successive, synonymous expressions.

1. Fast cars, big boats, tricked-out trucks, and private planes!

2. We’ve reached our final destination. This is where we were headed. We’re finally here!

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Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (


Period: The periodic sentence, characterized by the suspension of the completion of sense until its end. This has been more possible and favored in Greek and Latin, languages already favoring the end position for the verb, but has been approximated in uninflected languages such as English. [This figure may also engender surprise or suspense–consequences of what Kenneth Burke views as ‘appeals’ of information.]

Next month, because we have frequent yelling matches, get cited every few months for disturbing the peace, have numerous infidelities, and both of us recently obtained prescriptions for medical marijuana we will appear on the Jerry Springer Show!

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


Metonymy (me-ton’-y-my): Reference to something or someone by naming one of its attributes. [This may include effects or any of the four Aristotelian causes {efficient/maker/inventor, material, formal/shape, final/purpose}.]

I filled my tin with nightcrawlers and headed off for a day by the water.

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


Repotia (re-po’-ti-a): 1. The repetition of a phrase with slight differences in style, diction, tone, etc. 2. A discourse celebrating a wedding feast.

1. A. Every time  you smile at me I feel the warmth of your love touching my soul.

1. B. Every time you smile at me I feel the pulse of your love pounding in my chest.

2. Now you are married. But, your course through life together to this point can’t and won’t be forgotten: How you first met. How you formed a faith together in the future of your dream: to love, to grow, to share with us, and to be bound by the promises you made here today. Your vows have made you whole and your vows have made you free. They teach us all how good it is to be your witness: to testify to the power of love as we embrace your hope and promise to do everything we can, along with you, to make your hope and love your life’s destiny.

So, here’s to you our friends: To your love! To your marriage! May the spirit of today visit you every day all the days of your life!

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Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (


Tasis (ta’-sis): Sustaining the pronunciation of a word or phrase because of its pleasant sound. A figure apparent in delivery.

Together, to gather for concord’s sake–true to our promise in concord’s wake–never far, always near–concord’s spirit conquered fear, and concord’s hope brought us here: warmed by the knowledge that we’re not alone, sheltered by this place that we call home.

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Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (


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

Every day you sit at your kitchen table working at your hobby projects–empty cans with pictures from Star Magazine pasted on them, paperclip key rings, gum wrapper religious icons, and a bunch of other stuff.  Maybe you’re having fun, but maybe you could use your spare time to make something better for somebody else. There’s a food pantry right around the corner. There’s a homeless shelter on the other side of town. There’s a literacy program at St. Mary’s. Take your pick. Volunteer your time. Give it to somebody who needs it. Get up. Go out. Do good.

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Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (


Distinctio (dis-tinc’-ti-o): Eliminating ambiguity surrounding a word by explicitly specifying each of its distinct meanings.

This “truth” is not self evident, scientific, or even factual.  This “truth” resonates with hope as a quality of faith enabling one to envision, plan, posit, and actualize a better future–it is a compelling representation of a beloved possibility.

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Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (