Monthly Archives: May 2013


Prozeugma (pro-zoog’-ma): A series of clauses in which the verb employed in the first is elided (and thus implied) in the others.

Spring is up north somewhere. Summer, right here in my little yard! Fall, somewhere in the southern hemisphere. Winter, hanging out in Melbourne’s outskirts, freezing kangaroos.

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Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (


Accismus (ak-iz’-mus): A feigned refusal of that which is earnestly desired.

What? A poodle for Father’s Day? My rêve come true! He must’ve cost a bundle. I can’t let you do this! You’re too generous. Let’s name him Rousseau! Should we have him neutered? Can I take him for a walk?

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Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (


Gnome (nome or no’-mee): One of several terms describing short, pithy sayings. Others include adageapothegmmaximparoemiaproverb, and sententia.

Valor is the future’s promise steadfastly kept by love of country, community, family, and friends–by a spirit that overshadows fear and death.

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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.])

It’s unfair, unjust, and inequitable! It’s not morally right! It’s cheating! It’s  peddling lies! It’s pedaling on EPO! Lance Armstrong, loser of his own Tour de Farce!


He shoved. He hugged. He closed his eyes. He ran. He stopped. He sat. He listened. He cleared his throat. He tied his shoe. It was a boot. It was a balloon. He woke up. It was his birthday.


We were grateful for the shelter. We trusted the soldiers who had led us there. We prayed for our brothers and sisters who died without warning in the catastrophe’s wake. Gratitude, trust, and prayer drew us together and cradled our grief, and softened the blows of despair.

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


Synzeugma (sin-zoog’-ma): That kind of zeugma in which a verb joins (and governs) two phrases by coming between them. A synonym for mesozeugma.

Your love’s embryonic desire was smothered by his rage, and your trust, your hope, your promise!

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Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (


Hypallage (hy-pal’-la-ge): Shifting the application of words. Mixing the order of which words should correspond with which others. Also, sometimes, a synonym for metonymy (see Quintilian).

Can I trust you? Is a mountain a mudflat?

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Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (


Diaphora (di-a’-pho-ra): Repetition of a common name so as to perform two logical functions: to designate an individual and to signify the qualities connoted by that individual’s name or title.

Here comes Harry–do you think he’s going to harry us again? I wish he’d mellow out!

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

You’re already covered with tasteless tats! You promised me the bowling ball with your mother’s face on it was the last chapter in the incoherent mess plastered all over your skin! Now Cheepy? Jeez! Your body’s a Rorschach of impulsive mistakes!

You’re already covered with tasteless tats! Poor little Cheepy inked on your hand! I know you feel guilty because you stepped on Cheepy.  If you must do a new tattoo, why not just have “BIGGEST IMPULSIVE MISTAKE EVER” tattooed on your forehead?  It’ll title your skin’s story and give meaning to the mess! Why not? Your body’s a Rorschach of impulsive mistakes!

Go for it!

Oh, wait a minute, putting a caption on your head will de-Rorschach the rest of your skin! Besides, it won’t be an impulsive mistake–it’s even worse–it’ll be a calculated mistake!

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Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (


Personification: Reference to abstractions or inanimate objects as though they had human [or animate] qualities or abilities. The English term for prosopopeia (pro-so-po-pe’-i-a) or ethopoeia (e-tho-po’-ia): the description and portrayal of a character (natural propensities, manners and affections, etc.).

Drones deal death from the bottom of the deck.

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Definitions courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (


Antiprosopopoeia (an-ti-pro-so-po-pe’-i-a): The representation of persons [or other animate beings] as inanimate objects. This inversion of prosopopoeia or personification can simply be the use of a metaphor to depict or describe a person [or other animate being].

I’m rubber and you’re rubber too! Everything we say bounces around between me and you.

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


Auxesis (ok-see’-sis): (1) Arranging words or clauses in a sequence of increasing force. In this sense, auxesis is comparable to climax and has sometimes been called incrementum.  (2) A figure of speech in which something is referred to in terms disproportionately large (a kind of exaggeration or hyperbole). (3) Amplification in general.

(1) First it was a protest, then it was a revolution, now it is a civil war.

70,000 killed and countless victims living in misery: hungry, horrified and maimed. Where’s the Red Line? In Obama’s head? In the bloodstains on the streets of Damascus? On Satan’s tachometer? Or, on the flatlined puffy faces of the UN’s living dead?

(2) The world’s tribulations churn in whirlpools of misery–from Mali to Manhattan spinning in the wake of speedy Catastrophe: Hell’s flagship luxury liner.

The Brochure: “Powered by Greed and commanded by Captain Temerity! Stow your immortal souls below, cast off all hope, and lose the 21st century! Enjoy the cruise–it lasts for eternity!”

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Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (



Effictio (ef-fik’-ti-o): A verbal depiction of someone’s body, often from head to toe.

Note: This figure was used in forensic rhetoric (legal argumentation) for purposes of clearly identifying an alleged criminal. It has often been adapted to poetical uses.

His head was almost perfectly oval–like a giant egg with a face and hair. His ears stuck way out from each side of his head.  If he could wiggle them real fast, he could fly. His shoulders were perpendicular to the ground and his arms looked like bowling pins with hands. He was wearing a T-shirt that said “Makin’ Bacon” with a picture on the front of two pigs making piglets.

His pants were so low-slung that you could see his fruits of the loom flashing in the sunlight as he crossed the street–jaywalking his way toward me, clumping along in a pair of moon boots, circa 1983.

“My God!” I thought,  “It’s the guy I bought the used car from that exploded on my way to the senior prom back in ’85!”

I picked up a rock from the gutter and threw it at him.

Revenge is sweet.

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Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (


Systrophe (si’-stro-fee): The listing of many qualities or descriptions of someone or something, without providing an explicit definition.

What a mower! Fast, big, red, zero-turner.

Grass flies, neighbors applaud, I sing: “Get your mower running, head out on the greensward, looking for adventure in any agrostis canina that gets in my way. I’m going to make it happen–catch the weeds in a blade’s embrace. Buy all of my overhauls at once and properly rusticate! For I’m a true haymeister’s child and I’m born to mow wild, born to mow wild, born to mow wild . . .”

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Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (


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. . .”).

A beehive’s drones’ sole function is to procreate, that is, they are genetically devoted to perpetuating their species.  Their stingers have morphed into penises. They benignly target the Queen, mate, and make more bees.

Question: Why does the US call its remote-controlled killer aircraft “Drones”?  Answer: because they’re drudges that fly and make a droning sound! But, their sole purpose is to serve King Death.

As a metonymy, calling a flying remote-controlled killing machine a drone is like calling a seat used for executing people an electric chair.

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Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (


Mesarchia (mes-ar’-chi-a): The repetition of the same word or words at the beginning and middle of successive sentences.

Truth is a picture of hope fulfilled, eternally titled “The End.”

Truth is a parasite attached to your soul, eternally weakening its will to let go.

Truth is a red-eyed pig eternally oinking in the barnyard of your mind.

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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.

If you don’t know the truth, tell the truth.

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Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (


Ecphonesis (ec-pho-nee’-sis): An emotional exclamation.

Pat: “Help! I’ve fallen and I can’t get up!”

Terry: “You’re exactly where you belong! You’re lucky your cheap vodka comes in plastic bottles or you’d probably be cut on broken glass and bleeding all over the kitchen floor!”

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Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (