Monthly Archives: February 2014


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

Ousted Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych had a palace–ee-yi–ee-yi-oh. With a life-size painted plastic horse here and a golf course there–ee-yi-ee-yi-oh. With pirate ship restaurant here and a big live ostrich there–ee-yi-ee-yi-oh.

Ousted Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych had a palace–ee-yi–ee-yi-oh. With a helipad here and a rare breed of pig there. A car collection here and some bottles of Viktor Vodka there–ee-yi-ee-yi-oh.

Oh-yi! Oh! Oh! Oh! Where the heck did Yanukovych go?

Vladimir Putin had a hideout–ee-yi-ee-yi-oh. With a Yanukovych there and . . .

  • Post your own prozeugma on the “Comments” page!

Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (


Pysma (pys’-ma): The asking of multiple questions successively (which would together require a complex reply). A rhetorical use of the question.

Our crypto platform has been compromised.  How did we find out about this? Who was involved? Who is to blame? Why did they do it? How did they do it? How has it affected our reputation for honesty, integrity, and openness? What are we going to do moving ahead? These are the questions we intend to address over the coming days.  But today, I can tell you that we . . .

  • Post your own pysma on the “Comments” page!

Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (


Ratiocinatio (ra’-ti-o-cin-a’-ti-o): Reasoning (typically with oneself) by asking questions. Sometimes equivalent to anthypophora. More specifically, ratiocinatio can mean making statements, then asking the reason (ratio) for such an affirmation, then answering oneself. In this latter sense ratiocinatio is closely related to aetiologia. [As a questioning strategy, it is also related to erotima {the general term for a rhetorical question}.]

In Florida, I have a right to stand my ground. You threaten me, I kill you. Under lex talionis, does that tally up? What would Hammurabi say?

Let’s re-taliate the ‘taliation: What’s the fair price to pay for being perceived as a deadly threat?

I won’t back down vs. I can’t back down. Back to the wall? Fire away! Otherwise, run away. Does that tally up?

I give up.

  • Post your own ratiocinatio on the “Comments” page!

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


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. I am your only chance? I, your only chance? Yes! I am your only chance, but only if you take that chance with me!

2. Your wedding is a portrait of endless promise, inexhaustible as love’s invisible warmth. We know your marriage, like your courtship, will bring out the best in both of you, lighting your lives with happiness, hope,  and love.

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

  • Post your own repotia on the “Comments” page!

Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (


Restrictio (re-strik’-ti-o): Making an exception to a previously made statement. Restricting or limiting what has already been said.

You made a good point, but it isn’t good enough to persuade me or anybody else! Here’s why . . .

  • Post your own restrictio on the “Comments” page!

Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (

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

Don-cha just love Sarah Palin! She’s there for pistol packer patriot Ted Nugent! Just like him, she’s tolerant, respectful, and wise.  They’re like two peas in a red, white, and blue pod.

Let’s pull our .357’s, aim high, and fire a few hundred rounds toward Washington as a tribute to freedom of expression and a show of support for Sarah and Ted, Wild Turkey, Fox News, and the NRA!

  • Post your own sarcasmus on the “Comments” page!

Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (

Scesis Onomaton

Scesis Onomaton (ske’-sis-o-no’-ma-ton): 1. A sentence constructed only of nouns and adjectives (typically in a regular pattern).  2. A series of successive, synonymous expressions.

1. Political problem. Violent solution. Civil war. Revoltion.

Riots. Fire. Bullets. Death. Broken nation. Torn apart. Broken promises. Broken hearts.

Ukraine! Today we feel your pulse again–revived by the hard pressure of vilolence and protest, and currently sheltered by a political deal, perhaps, now, there is a way to heal.

2. Don’t forget to write! Remember me in letters! I hope to hear from you soon!

  • Post your own scesis onomaton on the “Comments” page!

Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (


Sententia (sen-ten’-ti-a): One of several terms describing short, pithy sayings. Others include adageapothegemgnomemaximparoemia, and proverb.

My wonderful husband once told me, “I may be lying in the gutter, but I’m staring at the stars.”

Tonight, here in New Hampshire, I know what Bill meant. But tonight it is a little different! It is snowing like hell and I can’t see the stars.

Ha ha! That was somewhat funny. Thank you! But seriously, if I were homeless, I’d just go to sleep and freeze to death in the gutter. But I am not homeless! I am not going to go to sleep! Instead, I am going to South Carolina!

Before I board my campaign ambulence, I want to introduce my new Presidential Campaign Manager, Mr. Ben Gahzi!

In the coming months, Mr. Gahzi will . . .

  • Post your own sententia on the “Comments” page!

Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (


Simile (si’-mi-lee): An explicit comparison, often (but not necessarily) employing “like” or “as.”

We keep calling it a debt ceiling, but it’s more like a trampoline.

  • Post your own simile on the “Comments” page!

Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (


Skotison (sko’-ti-son): Purposeful obscurity.

We are the threshold of time’s passage. Always here, but never there. Always now, but never then. Waiting. Longing. Hoping. Fearing. Rembering. Forgetting. Being.

  • Post your own skotison on the “Comments” page!

Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (


Syllepsis (sil-lep’-sis): When a single word that governs or modifies two or more others must be understood differently with respect to each of those words. A combination of grammatical parallelism and semantic incongruity, often with a witty or comical effect. Not to be confused with zeugma: [a general term describing when one part of speech {most often the main verb, but sometimes a noun} governs two or more other parts of a sentence {often in a series}].

You wrecked our car, the garage door, and my day.

  • Post your own syllepsis on the “Comments” page!

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


Symploce (sim’-plo-see or sim’-plo-kee): The combination of anaphora and epistrophe: beginning a series of lines, clauses, or sentences with the same word or phrase while simultaneously repeating a different word or phrase at the end of each element in this series.

We are going to the zoo. We are getting closer to the zoo. We are almost at the zoo. We are at the zoo! The zoo is closed. I hate the zoo. Whose idea was it to go to the zoo?

  • Post your own symploce on the “Comments” page!

Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (


Synaloepha (sin-a-lif’-a): Omitting one of two vowels which occur together at the end of one word and the beginning of another. A contraction of neighboring syllables. A kind of metaplasm.

Big ‘iant lunker living in a bunker underneath a rock at the bottom of the lake. What would it take to catch ‘im? Bacon!

  • Post your own synaloepha on the “Comments” page!

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 a big, tall, towering nightmare. A screamer. A yeller. A beligerant blunt-force human trauma.  He never backed down. He never gave way. He got hit by a Fedex truck. Then, he hit the Fedex truck, sued, won, and moved to Belize.


He’s a father, brother, son, husband, uncle, cousin, nephew, and grandson. He’s connected 8 ways to his family, but only one way to his friends!


In summer, he spent his afternoons rolling cigarettes in the garage and “looking for things.” He would ride up and down the driveway for hours on “Phony” his minature pony.

At night he would go out in the yard, pull down his pants, and hop up and down until he fell over.

Every morning he would get up, go to the kitchen, stick his butt in the microwave, and crow like a rooster.  Then, he would boil water, make tea, throw a cupfull on the rubber portrait of King George III in the bottom of the sink and yell “Party on that Georgie boy.” His favorite breakfast was a pancake ham sandwich dipped in a bowl of warm Amarula.

It was during the fall, winter, and spring that he worked at night in his office, and during the day, in his laboratory in Washington, D.C. He was an inventer. He had 16,211 patents.  He made Thomas Edison look like a tinker. He earned well over $3,000,000 per year in royalties for things like his “How Now Snow Plow,” “Karmic Bath Towel,” and “Chunky Tuna Maker.”

In short, the guy was different. He marched to the color of a different crayon. He thought outside of the outside. He was a beggar and a chooser. He was a comma without a clause.

  • Post your own synathroesmus on the “Comments” page!

Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (


Synecdoche (si-nek’-do-kee): A whole is represented by naming one of its parts (or genus named for species), or vice versa (or species named for genus).

A: Hey! Do you have an extra smoke? I need a light too.

B: Anything else? How about a new set of lungs?

  • Post your own synecdoche on the “Comments” page!

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.

Super Bowl XLVIII (48?). New Jersey. Meadowlands. No roof. Temperature in the 40s. Cloudy. Slight chance of rain. Slight chance of Seattle winning. Slight chance of half-time wardrobe malfunction.  Slight chance of viewer sobriety.

However, there is a strong chancepossibility, prospect, probability, and likelihood of seeing funny ads right here before the game!

  • Post your own synonymia on the “Comments” page!

Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (