Monthly Archives: March 2013


Abbaser [George] Puttenham’s English term for tapinosis. Also equivalent to meiosis: reference to something with a name disproportionately lesser than its nature (a kind of litotes: deliberate understatement, especially when expressing a thought by denying its opposite).

Love: Not bad for a four-letter word!

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

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Exouthenismos (ex-ou-then-is’-mos): An expression of contempt.

Your so-called advice is a fatal plague spread by the infectious stench of your speech.

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Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (


Homoioptoton (ho-mee-op-to’-ton): The repetition of similar case endings in adjacent words or in words in parallel position.

Note: Since this figure only works with inflected languages, it has often been conflated with homoioteleuton and (at least in English) has sometimes become equivalent to simple rhyme: “To no avail, I ate a snail.”

We have come to the edge of hope. Here we stand, looking ahead toward the steep divide, down a rock-strewn slope. On the upward breeze of sunset’s onset we are inspired by the smell of wild heliotrope. As sunset’s orange shadows start to stretch across the hard terrain, at last, in the day-ending glow we see what we had begun to think was a brutal hateful joke–the chiseled steps of the ancient long-lost stope!  As the stars begin to appear in the humid sky, we fall asleep on billowy beds made of freshened hope. We dream of gold–a snoring band of bliss-filled hyperopes!

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Definition and commentary courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (


Antirrhesis (an-tir-rhee’-sis): Rejecting reprehensively the opinion or authority of someone.

You keep telling us to stop talking and do something. Instead of telling us to stop talking, why don’t you just shut up? That’s something actually worth doing! Go sit in the corner and send Tweets to your nutty friends, Rand.

Now, let’s continue our discussion. Let’s see . . . where were we?  Mitch, what are your thoughts on furloughing the Coast Guard so we won’t be forced to close the Senate Cafeteria while the sequester’s up and running?  Seems like a classic case of guns vs. butter.  What say, Mitch? Send the Coasties home?

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Definition courtesy of Silva Rhetoricae (