Monthly Archives: September 2013


Mempsis (memp’-sis): Expressing complaint and seeking help.

When the US government shuts down tomorrow, the US Congress will be paid as usual and the US military will get government I.O.U.s.

You can’t pay a utility bill with an I.O.U.

We continuously hear from Congress how it owes the military a debt of gratitude.  Clearly, Congress has already gone into default on that debt.

As far as I can see, Congress can pay its biggest debt today by offering the entire US an APOLOGY for failing to govern, and by donating their bloated paychecks to the men and women in uniform who actually deserve to be paid!

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Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (


Anapodoton (an’-a-po’-do-ton): A figure in which a main clause is suggested by the introduction of a subordinate clause, but that main clause never occurs.

Anapodoton is a kind of anacoluthon, since grammatical expectations are interrupted. If the expression trails off, leaving the subordinate clause incomplete, this is sometimes more specifically called anantapodotonAnapodoton has also named what occurs when a main clause is omitted because the speaker interrupts himself/herself to revise the thought, leaving the initial clause grammatically unresolved but making use of it nonetheless by recasting its content into a new, grammatically complete sentence.

If you think I’m going to shop my head off . . .


Marriage is always an option–living in a two-person cage, having to share everything, tripping over each other’s dirty clothes, entertaining each other’s friends until one of us dies–an option that seems bleak until you realize that, no matter what, we are here together and that there’s something singularly beautiful about love’s desolation and the spacious emptyness it provides for the negotiation of our otherness in a spirit of endless openness.

Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (

Buy a print edition of The Daily Trope! The print edition is entitled The Book of Tropes and is available on Amazon for $9.99.


Paragoge (par-a-go’-ge): The addition of a letter or syllable to the end of a word. A kind of metaplasm.

Compared to “Mahmoud the Iraniac‘s” tirades against the US, Rouhoni’s overtures and phone call with Obama are encouraging!

Let’s just hope their future meetings aren’t like “Carrying carpets to Kerman” or “Carrying coal to Schuylkill”!

Togther, may they “Carry peace to the world”!

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Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (


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)].

I’m in the hosptial last year getting surgery when this guy in a white coat comes into my room and says: “Too bad about the foot.” I said, “What foot?” He says, “The one that’s going to foot the bill.”

I throw my water bottle at him.

Bam! Right in the head.

I yelled, “Foot that sucker” and hit the panic button by my bed.

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Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (


Amphibologia (am’-fi-bo-lo’-gi-a): Ambiguity of grammatical structure, often occasioned by mispunctuation. [A vice of ambiguity.]

I held a meeting in my tank top. 

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


Procatalepsis (pro-cat-a-lep’-sis): Refuting anticipated objections.

The opposition believes that our proposal is not warranted by what it believes is moral or by what it believes is practical. We believe, in this particular case, that the opposition’s got it wrong. So wrong, in fact, that their reasoning will take us to a place where none of us want to go be: standing on the side of immorality, mired in a twisted vision of what we should do next, as we waste material and human resources in pursuit of yet another blunder.

Contrary to their vision of what’s expedient and good, our proposal is grounded in what will work and is guided by principles that are pertinent to brining our hoped-for outcome to fruition. All this, without underming our status as a morally sound, reasonable, and forward-looking assembly. In short, our proposal explicitly and prudently assesses the likely pitfalls and prospects that lie ahead, and ecompasses them with a principled and productive plan.

First, as far as our proposal’s practicality is concerned . . .

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Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (


Congeries (con’ger-eez): Piling up words of differing meaning but for a similar emotional effect [(akin to climax)].

Homes and highways damaged and destroyed. Friends and loved ones missing and dead.

Yesterday we were in schock. Today, we mourn. Tomorrow, we will begin to rebuild.

In the weeks, months, and years to come we will work, rejoice, remember, struggle, and seek solace in the spirit of hope that joins us and speeds us ahead.

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


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

Look, it’s the amazing Whining Weiner! How tony! How tasty! How trendy! How cheap!

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Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (


Diasyrmus (di’-a-syrm-os): Rejecting an argument through ridiculous comparison.

Denying global warming is like sticking a knitting needle in your eye and claiming it’s not there.

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Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (


Anacoluthon (an-a-co-lu’-thon): A grammatical interruption or lack of implied sequence within a sentence. That is, beginning a sentence in a way that implies a certain logical resolution, but concluding it differently than the grammar leads one to expect. Anacoluthon can be either a grammatical fault or a stylistic virtue, depending on its use. In either case, it is an interruption or a verbal lack of symmetry. Anacoluthon is characteristic of spoken language or interior thought, and thus suggests those domains when it occurs in writing.

Police who kill peaceful demonstrators–who commands them?

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Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (


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

From the Tesla Model S, to the Nissan LEAF, to my humble E-Z Go; from grand sedans to golf carts, the electrics are here to stay!

Hello quiet and clean! Goodbye, gasoline!


We are born, we live, we die. End of story?

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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.])

He was cruel, vicious, wicked, violent. A monster. A killer. A human stain! He got what he deserved. Now that he’s dead, we can put our lives back together again.


He’s a robber, a philanthropist, a farmer, a preacher, a sinner, a gambler, a winner, a saint, a liar, and my best friend. Am I in trouble?


In summer, he spent his days digging worms and feeding them to Ed (his pet Robin), practicing his acrobatics (he loved cartwheels and backflips), knitting what he called “nose warmers,” and sometimes pushing a shopping cart around in the basement, pretending he was at the grocery store and complaining about the cost of bread and milk and caviar.

At night he would go into the woods behind his home, strip naked, pound his chest, and spit at the starry sky.

Every morning he would get up, go to the kitchen, put his left hand in the toaster oven and sing the theme song from the musical “Annie.” Then, he would put two slices of bread into the toaster oven, turn it on, and wait. When the toast was ready, he took it out of the toaster oven, held one piece in each hand over his head and yelled (in French), “Let them eat cake!”

It was during the fall, winter, and spring that he worked at night in his office, and during the day, in his laboratory at M.I.T. He had won two Nobel Prizes in two entirely different fields: Physics and Literature. His teaching evaluations were through the roof. Over the course of his career he had landed nearly $20,000,000 worth of grants to support his scholarly and creative endeavors.

In short, the guy was a totally weird Nobel Prize winning genius nutcase. Not only that, he was my father and our whole family loved him. So did his colleagues. If only they knew!

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Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (


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

As Lincoln said, “If we could first know where we are, and whither we are tending, we could better judge what to do, and how to do it.”

Last night, President Obama gave a speech on Syria, the pundits yelled at each other, Chris Matthews went nuts, and I turned off my TV.

The House is divided. Whither are we tending?

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Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (


Correctio (cor-rec’-ti-o): The amending of a term or phrase just employed; or, a further specifying of meaning, especially by indicating what something is not (which may occur either before or after the term or phrase used). A kind of redefinition, often employed as a parenthesis (an interruption) or as a climax.

This is war. It’s not a threat, a nightmare, or some stupid kid’s macho video game. This is about killing, killing, more killing, and much, much more filthy, disgusting, remorseless, relentless, unforgettable, stench-filled, shrieking killing.  This is war. Let’s go! Let’s kill! Let’s do the right thing!

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Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (


Prolepsis (pro-lep’-sis):  (1) A synonym for procatalepsis [refuting anticipated objections];  (2) speaking of something future as though already done or existing. A figure of anticipation.

1. They’re going to say that $12,000 is a lot of money to spend: period! We’re going to say that what we’re proposing to purchase today will give us at least, at a minimum, 15 years of service–15 years of enabling good things to happen here year after year after year.

We’re going to say: “Do the math, that’s $800 per year! If you’re willing to spend $15,000+ for a one-time event that’s here tonight and gone in the morning, is rowdy and raucus, leaves the lawn littered with trash, sends people to the emergency room, and is the herald of morning-after booze-induced pain–all in the name of FUN, you should certainly be willing to invest $12,000.00 in 15 years of quiet, clean, safe, and painless FUN.

2. I can’t believe you posted our video on YouTube. We better start writing our obituaries. We are dead!

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


Epicrisis (e-pi-cri’-sis): When a speaker quotes a certain passage and makes comment upon it.

Related figuresanamenesis–calling to memory past matters. More specifically, citing a past author from memory–and chreia (from the Greek chreiodes, “useful”) . . . “a brief reminiscence referring to some person in a pithy form for the purpose of edification.” It takes the form of an anecdote that reports either a saying, an edifying action, or both.

The political philosopher Eric Vogelin tells us that “the role of human existence must be played in uncertainty of its meaning as an adventure in decision along the edge of freedom and necessity.”

Uncertainty motivates decision. Decision entails risk.  Risk is the estimated consequence of action, and action is the herald of sorrow and joy, regret and satisfaction, and all the other dialectically-poised and unknowable outcomes of human being–of being always, all the time, a prisoner of choice on an island of freedom.

Yet, the island may be as large as the future is unknowable. So, as we set off on our next adventure in decision, somehow we must transform our uncertainty as to where we will end up into the belief that we’re going in the right direction.

Our hope is history’s backward-looking map and rhetoric is the star that sets our course.

We are Janus’ children born into the present.  Looking back and seeing forward, we are able to move ahead.

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Definitions courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (


Antitheton (an-tith’-e-ton): A proof or composition constructed of contraries. Antitheton is closely related to and sometimes confused with the figure of speech that juxtaposes opposing terms, antithesis. However, it is more properly considered a figure of thought (=Topic of Invention: Contraries [a topic of invention in which one considers opposite or incompatible things that are of the same kind (if they are of different kinds, the topic of similarity / difference is more appropriate). Because contraries occur in pairs and exclude one another, they are useful in arguments because one can establish one’s case indirectly, proving one’s own assertion by discrediting the contrary]).

What you hope will inspire fear in your enemies and induce them to capitulate may actually inspire your enemies to hope more fervently for victory.  Theirs will be a quality of hope that you, my friend, should absolutely fear!

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Definitions courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (


Personification: Reference to abstractions or inanimate objects as though they had human 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.).

The Fukushima reactor is badly, but not terminally wounded. For 2 years it has poured out its deathly boiling gore.

Will a wall of ice seal its unhealable wounds?

Some so-called ‘sceptics’ believe that Fukushima is bleeding an immortal flow of endless catastrophe.

In the END, will its endless flow soak the heart and drown the soul of frail Mother Earth?

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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 [–the speaker does not expect an answer].

Did you think that invading Iraq was a good idea?  What about Afghanistan? Good idea? What about Syria?  Good idea? When is war ever a good idea?  Never? Sometimes? Later this week?

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


Tmesis (tmee’-sis): Interjecting a word or phrase between parts of a compound word or between syllables of a word.

It is time to do what must be done. Sooner, not later.

Are we Team U.S. of fuggetaboutit-A?

I don’t think so.

I’d like to think that we are Team U.S. of friggin-kaboomin-A!

You know what to do!

It’s a slam jump swish 3-point lay-up free throw hook shot–It’s a full-court no “me” in “team” press! Blow your whistles and grab your b-balls, we’re going to war!

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Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (