Monthly Archives: June 2013


Alleotheta (al-le-o-the’-ta): Substitution of one case, gender, mood, number, tense, or person for another. Synonymous with enallage. [Some rhetoricians claim that alleotheta is a] general category that includes antiptosis [(a type of enallage in which one grammatical case is substituted for another)] and all forms of enallage [(the substitution of grammatically different but semantically equivalent constructions)].

What is you? What is me? What is we? When my plane takes off tomorrow we is gone, and we is free. So long!

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


Enallage (e-nal’-la-ge): The substitution of grammatically different but semantically equivalent constructions.

When the buzz on the street says the future price of honey’s not sweet and there’s a strong likelihood he’ll be stung by a major market correction, alas, the worried beekeeper must sadly ask:

To be a beekeeper or not to be a beekeeper?

And in his anguish, he may cry out again:

Not to be a beekeeper or to be a beekeeper?

We hope that for the time being, for the bees’ sake, he decides to keep being a beekeeper, keep his bees, and be ready to go back to business as usual when the price of honey rebounds.

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Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (


Synonymia (si-no-ni’-mi-a): In general, the use of several synonyms together to amplify or explain a given subject or term. A kind of repetition that adds emotional force or intellectual clarity. Synonymia often occurs in parallel fashion. The Latin synonym, interpretatio, suggests the expository and rational nature of this figure, while another Greek synonym, congeries, suggests the emotive possibilities of this figure.

Death Valley: Curtains Coulee, Grim Reaper Glen, Termination Trough, Necrosis Notch.

A Hell Hole by any other name will still kill you.

Don’t be found dead out there wearing a Weather Channel t-shirt with a blown out thermometer clutched in the skeleton of your hand.

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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.

You marry.  You divorce.  You pay.

Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (

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Antisthecon (an-tis’-the-con): Substitution of one sound, syllable, or letter for another within a word. A kind of metaplasm: the general term for changes to word spelling.

My dental hygenist calls himself a “Placksmith.”

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Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (


Abating: English term for anesis: adding a concluding sentence that diminishes the effect of what has been said previously. The opposite of epitasis (the addition of a concluding sentence that merely emphasizes what has already been stated. A kind of amplification).

Your new BMW is fantastic! German engineering! Top speed 150 MPH! Was blue the only color available?

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Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (

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

Three steps you can take to protect yourself from on-line spying: 1. Voltage SecureMail Cloud Standard ($99.00), 2. Disconnect from the Internet, 3. Die.

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Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (


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

Neither rising tides nor shrinking icecaps could convince him; neither porpoises in his living room nor sweating penguins.

The last time I saw him he was watching the Fox News Channel, sunburned in his underwear, on the deck of NOAA’s Ark.

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Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (


Paralipsis (par-a-lip’-sis): Stating and drawing attention to something in the very act of pretending to pass it over (see also cataphasis). A kind of irony.

I can’t tell you exactly where Edward Snowden is hiding, but Warwick House, 12th floor, Taikoo Place, 979 King’s Road, Island East has a big welcome mat that says “Hæli Fyrir Eddy” on it!

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Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (


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. Iraq. Afghanistan. Syria. Egypt. One thing in common: sectarianism.

1. B. Four countries. Four examples. Four reasons to engender nationalism.

2. Your wedding is a portrait of spiritual fusion, inexhaustible as love’s invisible warmth. We know your marriage will bring bright colors and beautiful forms to the days and nights of your lives.

Today is a time for promises and a time of promise: a time to celebrate your future’s advent in the vows you’ve spoken today.

So, here’s to you, our friends: To your love! To your marriage! To your future!

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Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (


Adynaton (a-dyn’-a-ton): A declaration of impossibility, usually in terms of an exaggerated comparison. Sometimes, the expression of the impossibility of expression.

There is no way the crisis in Syria is going to have a happy ending–it’s like expecting to find maple syrup on Mars!

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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.

Friend: Well Mark, it looks like Facebook took an about face for the US government and turned its back on my privacy!

Mark: Well, there’s privacy and then there’s privacy, and, on that note I’d like to make something  public right here and right now! Priscilla lost five pounds on the Facebook weight-loss program!

Friend: Weight-loss program?

Mark: Yes, that’s right! It’s an exciting new Facebook feature that is rolling out next week. We’re calling it “Friend your way to a new figure!”

Friend: Wow! I can hardly wait to tell my all my friends!

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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.

The next time you order sushi, I’m going to slap you in the face with a mackerel and stuff wasabi up your nose.

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


Ellipsis (el-lip’-sis): Omission of a word or short phrase easily understood in context.

I woke up in a used crib at the Salvation Army Family Thrift Store. All tucked in. 66 years old. Cold. For sale. I started crying. She called me “Ootsie Wootsie” and hit me with a lamp.

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Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (


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

Huh? What? OMG! No way! Am I dreaming? It can’t be! There must be LSD in my MU TEA! You actually got me a Father’s Day card? You used your own money? I need to sit down. Call 911. Ha! Ha! Just kidding! Call CNN.

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Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (


Paromologia (par-o-mo-lo’-gi-a): Conceding an argument, either jestingly and contemptuously, or to prove a more important point. A synonym for concessio.

Yes, you’re right! NSA: Big Bad Big Brother. Yes, that’s right, big enough and bad enough to keep you and your loved ones out of harm’s way! You should be grateful.

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Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (


Articulus (ar-tic’-u-lus): Roughly equivalent to “phrase” in English, except that the emphasis is on joining several phrases (or words) successively without any conjunctions (in which case articulus is simply synonymous with the Greek term asyndeton). See also brachylogia.

Articulus is also best understood in terms of differing speeds of style that depend upon the length of the elements of a sentence. The Ad Herennium author contrasts the the slower speed of concatenated membra (see membrum) to the quicker speed possible via articulus.

Building collapses, phones tapped, Putin divorces, thousands protest, 30 lashes, new Android, Toronto’s mayor, 165 kidnapped, Bible’s comeback, Fake farm, Koreas agree, Teacher found, Afghan anger, Dresden braces, London stabbing, radioactive leak, giant cats.

Sound familiar?

It’s the news!

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Definition and commentary courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (


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

For the past 35 years you have acted within, and not over, the call of duty. We are neither glad nor sad to see you go. However, it is expected by somebody more important than me that I present you with this dishwasher safe coffee mug inscribed with our corporate motto: “Good Enough is Good Enough.” Thank you for being compliant, courteous, and not a problem. Don’t miss your bus!

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Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (