Monthly Archives: May 2012


Mesozeugma (me’-so-zyoog’-ma): A zeugma in which one places a common verb for many subjects in the middle of a construction.

The lunar eclipse was beautiful; the soft sound of the dan bau, the night sky, your gentle smile too

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Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (


Epiplexis (e-pi-plex’-is): Asking questions in order to chide, to express grief, or to inveigh. A kind of rhetorical question.

What kind of idiot are you? Didn’t you realize that you’d get hurt if you used my chainsaw blindfolded? Where did you get the idea that doing what your stupid so-called friends dare you to do is the right thing to do? You’re lucky to be alive. I hope your foot heals soon.

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


Thaumasmus (thau-mas’-mus): To marvel at something rather than to state it in a matter of fact way.

It is totally amazing that Mitt Romney was ever the Bain of anybody’s existence. Thousands of workers fired? Come on, he’s such a smiley, well-groomed guy.  I’d trust him with your life.

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Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (


Onomatopoeia (on-o-mat-o-pee’-a): Using or inventing a word whose sound imitates that which it names (the union of phonetics and semantics).

Mush! Coosh! We eat it so fast our hands go swoosh! Mmmmm.

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Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (


Sarcasmus (sar’-kaz-mus): Use of mockery, verbal taunts, or bitter irony.

Those Greeks sure know how to manage their money–nothing beats double-triple-minus-∞ junk bond status as a testament to Greece’s brilliance at managing its finances.

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Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (


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

In some story of ancient origins, stars are holes that let out a dreamy light to still our spinning thoughts and send us off to dream underneath the blanket of night.

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Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (


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

Child: Mommy! I wish I had an iPad–one of the new ones. Mommy, please buy me an iPad. Please Mommy! Please! Please! Please!

Mother: No.

Child: I hate you. I wish you were dead.

Mother: You’re grounded.

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Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetorica” (


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

Birth, infancy, childhood, adolescence, adulthood, old age. Life’s phases narrate time.

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Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (


Hypozeuxis  (hyp-o-zook’-sis): Opposite of zeugma. Every clause has its own verb.

Last night the sweaty Indiana campaign crowd cheered, the winning candidate smiled and waved, and Lugar’s legacy was demolished, flattened, paved over.  And today, on that great flat expanse, the fleet of shiny new 2013 Conservative Avengers (made in USA) is lined up in a row in accord with the giant red, white, and blue sign at the entrance:

Park to the Far Right or Be Towed

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Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (


Allegory (al’-le-go-ry): A sustained metaphor continued through whole sentences or even through a whole discourse.

Prince Mite Yenmor looked out from his mountain lair across the Lake of Salt and saw the Untied States, and feeling in his slender royal gut a yen for more, with gleaming eyes and snow capped teeth he spoke: “Yea, I shall be ruler of this realm. I shall spend more than a fortune in gold and I shall buy a troop of low-browed voting sluggards, and inflaming their hearts, I shall make them thirst for justice, and so,  as they so-thirst, I shall call them by the proud name of their beverage of choice–The Mighty 7 Ups, The Bud Lite Brigade, or, oh yes, that’s it!  The Lipton Lancers! That shall suit them to a tea! Ha ha, my royal sense of humor waxes!”

And so, Prince Yenmor bought and named the Lipton Lancers and set out to quench the Lancers’ thirst for justice and topple King Amabo with a mighty loud and raucous chorus of finely penned insults, oft repeated BIG LIES, and the jewel in the crown of Prince Yenmor’s certain victory: the unyielding allegiance of Sir Fox the Crier who broadcast Yenmor’s nice hair, good posture, glorious smile, and royal words throughout the Untied States.

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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.

He is cunningly ingenuous with the rolled up sleeves of his shirt and the “Aw shucks howdy do” as he reaches out to shake hands with you. But the shirt is tailor made, and so is the handshake–tailor made to make you think he’s “just like you” so a vote for him is a vote for you too!

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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.  

Keep riding that motorcycle and some day you’ll be a red skid mark on the asphalt, or, if you’re lucky, a comatose stick in a hospital bed.

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


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).

Hear me! We have journeyed a long, long way. And, I say, we are almost home.

Hear me! Our map is faith and our hope moves our tired feet. And, I say, we are almost home.

Hear me! We are going home to the place to rest, to break bread, to call our own! I can feel it! We are almost home!

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Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (


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

Ham and cheese. Cheese and ham. It doesn’t matter how you stack ’em, they’re gonna be a sandwich, man!

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Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (