Monthly Archives: March 2014


Paroemia (pa-ri’-mi-a): One of several terms describing short, pithy sayings. Others include adage, apothegm, gnome, maxim, proverb, and sententia.

“No pain. No gain.” Anon.

“No rain. No grain.” Old MacDougal (Had a Farm c. 1917)

“Beggars can’t be choosers.” Anon.

“Choosers can be beggars.” A.B. ‘One Ear’ Dale, Licensed Beggar by Stat. xxii. Hen. VIII. c. 1512.

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Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (


Paroemion (par-mi’-on): Alliteration taken to an extreme where nearly every word in a sentence begins with the same consonant. Sometimes, simply a synonym for alliteration or for homoeoprophoron [a stylistic vice].

Pretty pictures portraying perky popsicles parading past peerless pawnshops parasitically peddling punters peacoats, penknives,  peepholes, pigweeds, pontoons, porky polywogs, and postpaid pickles.

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Paromoiosis (par-o-moy-o’-sis): Parallelism of sound between the words of adjacent clauses whose lengths are equal or approximate to one another. The combination of isocolon and assonance.

How many  hearts are torn and broken?

How many hearths mourn the forsaken?

Salty tears. Empty chairs. Absence. Conscience.

The whole world cares.

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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.

You’re right! You caught me! I did it. I flushed your death meth bye bye down the toilet. You’re lucky you didn’t end up there first. Now it’s time for another even more expensive life-changing experience. It’s called REHAB! Pack your crap. I’m calling a cab.

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Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (


Paronomasia (pa-ro-no-ma’-si-a): Using words that sound alike but that differ in meaning (punning).

I’m itching for some fuzzy math. No–scratch that! Today, I’m going to satisfy my constant craving by going straight to  linear equations!

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Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (


Parrhesia (par-rez’-i-a): Either to speak candidly or to ask forgiveness for so speaking. Sometimes considered a vice.

I’m sorry. I don’t know how to tell you. Larry has disappeared from his cage. The door was open and his hamster wheel was spinning, but no Larry. I bet he’s a happy hammie snuggled in your laundry basket.

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Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (


Pathopoeia ( path-o-poy’-a): A general term for speech that moves hearers emotionally, especially as the speaker attempts to elicit an emotional response by way of demonstrating his/her own feelings (exuscitatio). Melanchthon explains that this effect is achieved by making reference to any of a variety of pathetic circumstances: the time, one’s gender, age, location, etc.

Being careful not to slip and fall down on what’s left of my neighbor next door, I continue my walk and follow my thoughts about death, my career, my car, last summer’s vacation, my flat screen TV, and my mother, daughter, and wife who ran beneath the tracer fire last night as it stitched up the sky with its thread of red, brighter than the dark puddle of blood collecting in the gutter and reflecting my dread.

I turn. I howl. I vomit.

My family is dead.

You call it war. I call it endless sorrow and pain. You call it just. I call it criminally insane.

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Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (


Perclusio (per-clu’-si-o): A threat against someone, or something.

If you don’t stop yelling, I’m going to start yelling, and when I start yelling your head is going to explode.

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Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (


Periergia (pe-ri-er’-gi-a): Overuse of words or figures of speech. As such, it may simply be considered synonymous with macrologia. However, as Puttenham’s term suggests, periergia may differ from simple superfluity in that the language appears over-labored.

We’re trying to make bacon without a pig, paint the house with a flame thrower, and make paper dolls with steak knives on a roller coaster.

Got it?

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Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (


Period: The periodic sentence, characterized by the suspension of the completion of sense until its end. This has been more possible and favored in Greek and Latin, languages already favoring the end position for the verb, but has been approximated in uninflected languages such as English. [This figure may also engender surprise or suspense–consequences of what Kenneth Burke views as ‘appeals’ of information.]

The only thing(s) that matter(s) in life beyond the mundane hum of human existence await(s) our discovery in the rippling multiverse of being-at-once one and many, peering over the prison wall of contradiction, maddened by the parched diamond-bright  presence of everything stretching through time toward nothing-at-all and snapping.

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


Periphrasis (per-if’-ra-sis): The substitution of a descriptive word or phrase for a proper name (a species of circumlocution); or, conversely, the use of a proper name as a shorthand to stand for qualities associated with it. (Circumlocutions are rhetorically useful as euphemisms, as a method of amplification, or to hint at something without stating it.)

I wish Put-in would Pull-out before things get out of hand in Crimea! If there was a clearly focused Camer-on, there would probably be better news from Ukraine.

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Definition 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.).

Jimi Hendrix is telling me “The wind cried Mary.”  I don’t know about that, but I’ve heard the moon burp and say “I’m full.” The moon is impolite.

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Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (


Polyptoton (po-lyp-to’-ton): Repeating a word, but in a different form. Using a cognate of a given word in close proximity.

I like to like what I like to like. Why? Because liking what I like is likely to make me happy! Just imagine if I didn’t like what I like at the same time as I like it.  That is, one may like something in one sense, but not like it in another.  I’d rather like what I like in every sense! Does that make sense? Or do I look like a fool?

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Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (


Polysyndeton (pol-y-syn’-de-ton): Employing many conjunctions between clauses, often slowing the tempo or rhythm. (Asyndeton is the opposite of polysyndeton: an absence of conjunctions.)

We saw the problem clearly, and we made a plan to fix it, and we found a way to capture the resources to enable the plan’s implementation, and we implemented the plan, and after all we said, and all we did, we did have our hope fulfilled, and after 18 years of struggle our lives have returned to normal, and our community, our beautiful community, is restored.

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

We say diplomacy and an infusion of a few billion Euro will save the day. A negotiated diplomatic solution to the current crisis is certainly more beneficial in the long run than running across the border waving M-16s and NATO banners. The first shot fired toward the East may be the last shot ever fired by anybody ever, given the nukes aimed at Europe and Putin’s red-hot paranoia.

About the the money: No Euro, no economic recovery, no Ukraine. A few billion is a relatively small price to pay to keep a sovereign democracy on the western frontier of freedom functioning while it regroups and regains its fiscal strength. We trust in Ukraine’s future–a future free from the clutches of border bending criminals and safe in the embrace of the European Union. 

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Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (


Protherapeia (pro-ther-a-pei’-a): Preparing one’s audience for what one is about to say through conciliating words. If what is to come will be shocking, the figure is called prodiorthosis.

The years have gone by and we have had to say good-bye to so many murdered sisters and brothers chewed up and spit out dead or maimed by seemingly endless war—war without borders, war without shame, war without victory, war, war, war!

The world is engulfed by terror, hatred and horror. We cry for its wretched regions; ceaselessly flooded by the blood of the guiltless flowing deep red through the gates of hell thrown open by raging blasphemy shouting out His holy names.

Together we have stood our ground. Together we have pushed hard the stem the flood. Together.

And yet, as much as we have sacrificed, today it is my sad duty to tell you . . .

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Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (


Protrope (pro-tro’-pe): A call to action, often by using threats or promises.

Dear Mr. Putin,

If you value your favorite “My Little Pony,” you better move those troops out of Ukraine! We have kidnapped and are holding your Fantastic Flutters Princess Twilight Sparkle Pony hostage! When she burns, she “will melt and stink.” Is that what you want?

Bring those troops back to Russia by midnight MSK, or else!

FIRE copy   =   bye bye pony

Yours truly,


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Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (


Proverb: One of several terms describing short, pithy sayings. Others include adageapothegmgnomemaximparoemia, and sententia.

A prudent man sees danger and takes refuge, but the simple keep going and suffer for it. (Prov. 22:3 [NIV])

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Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (