Monthly Archives: April 2014


Metalepsis (me-ta-lep’-sis): Reference to something by means of another thing that is remotely related to it, either through a farfetched causal relationship, or through an implied intermediate substitution of terms. Often used for comic effect through its preposterous exaggeration. A metonymical substitution of one word for another which is itself figurative.

Tomorrow, I’m headed to San Fransisco to get my heart back. Please remind me not to leave it there again!

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Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (


Metallage (me-tal’-la-gee): When a word or phrase is treated as an object within another expression.

If you’ve been watching the news you’re probably puzzled by what “negotiation” means in Ukraine.

Here are some possibilities:


Tank you

Rubber Bumpy Borders

Drivin’ that train over Ukraine

Don’t Cry for Me Crimea

Your dodomu my dodomu. Get out.

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Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (


Metaphor (met’-a-phor): A comparison made by referring to one thing as another.

I am a birthday card lost in the mail.

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Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (


Metaplasm (met’-a-plazm): A general term for orthographical figures (changes to the spelling of words). This includes alteration of the letters or syllables in single words, including additions, omissions, inversions, and substitutions. Such changes are considered conscious choices made by the artist or orator for the sake of eloquence or meter, in contrast to the same kinds of changes done accidentally and discussed by grammarians as vices (see barbarism). See: antisthecon, aphaeresis, apocope, epenthesis, paragoge, synaloepha.

Oh my heavens! That’s fantabulastic! It’s the weirfeakendeirdest carrot I’ve ever seen! I cannyant wait to tell Ned Flanders!

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Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (


Metastasis (me-tas’-ta-sis): Denying and turning back on your adversaries arguments used against you.

You say I’m evil because I eat meat. From alligator to zebra, from zorilla to agouti, I’ll never be a vegetarian! You say you’re a vegetarian and that’s what gives you the right to condemn me. I don’t know about the logic of that claim, but since when is rabbit a vegetable?

Here’s a picture of you taken yesterday inhaling braised honey mustard bunny at Chez Bonaparte! Come on Mr. Beet-head get down off your high hors d’oeuvre! Come out from behind that lettuce and let us know the truth: You are an omnivore!

You can criticize me all day long, but don’t vest your credibility in a lie!

I have one last thing to say to you: You’re BAAhhhhhhd!

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Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (


Metonymy (me-ton’-y-my): Reference to something or someone by naming one of its attributes. [This may include effects or any of the four Aristotelian causes {efficient/maker/inventor, material, formal/shape, final/purpose}.]

I’ll pay with plastic. How much is one round? Do you have balls?

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


Ominatio (o-mi-na’-ti-o): A prophecy of evil.

Lo, I say unto to you: putteth down thine milk that is chocolate and shaken!

Forsake thine onion-crowned patty of steer!

Lo, I say unto you: if you fail to heed my healthful commandments thine tallow clogged heart will halt its pulsing and thou shalt surely becometh deceased!

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Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (


Onedismus (on-e-dis’-mus): Reproaching someone for being impious or ungrateful.

You seem to think you’re the world’s greatest living autodidact! You credit yourself for everything you allegedly know. Have you ever heard of, or used, the words “gratitude” or “grateful” with anybody but your own reflection in a mirror? Whenever you talk about the role of other people in your life and the influence they’ve exerted, you blame them as though they’ve all screwed you up somehow!

The quality of your life would change in a positive way if you could LEARN to recognize the benefits you’ve derived from people who care about you, have nurtured you, and yes, who have taught you!

Who’s the first person you’re going to thank?

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Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (rhetoric.byu.ed).


Onomatopoeia (on-o-mat-o-pee’-a): Using or inventing a word whose sound imitates that which it names (the union of phonetics and semantics).

YOU: I think I can. I think I can. I think can.  Choo-choo. Wah wah.

ME: You’re not a train. Get back in the house! Put your pants on! Give me that conductor’s hat! You’re a disgrace.

YOU: Alllllll aboard! Next stop Rehab City. Allllllll aboard!

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Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (


Optatio (op-ta’-ti-o): Expressing a wish, often ardently.

ME: I wish you would stop making that whistling noise–it’s driving me crazy!!  We’re going to have to get your nose fixed or give you away.

YOU: Don’t talk to Nummy that way. Look, you made him pee on the carpet.

ME: I’m so sorry Nummy. Let’s go to the doggie park so you can play with your friends. Here’s a treat!

YOU: Don’t forget to clean the carpet.

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Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetorica” (


Orcos (or’-kos): Swearing that a statement is true.

Z: I swear on a stack of bacon that I did not touch your grill.

X: What about my lawn tractor?

Z: I swear on a pile of mulch that I did not sit on your lawn tractor.

X: What about my hummingbird feeder?

Z: You got me! I poured red nectar on my pancakes and I feel like humming and building a tiny nest.

X: Hello, 911?

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Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (


Oxymoron (ox-y-mo’-ron): Placing two ordinarily opposing terms adjacent to one another. A compressed paradox.

Ukraine is the victim of a proxy invasion. Russia is joyously worried. The UK is boldly hesitant. The US is sharply unfocused. The EU is coldly boiling. NATO is inactively springing into inactivity. The UN is filing for bankruptcy.

What’s next?

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Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (


Paenismus (pai-nis’-mus): Expressing joy for blessings obtained or an evil avoided.

Oh Botox! You maketh my brow to rise upward. You restoreth my visage. Yea, tho I walk in the shadow of the valley of wrinkles I feel pretty good.

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Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (


Palilogia (pa-li-lo’-gi-a): Repetition of the same word, with none between, for vehemence. Synonym for epizeuxis.

Blah! Blah! Blah! All day long.  Blah! Blah! Blah! I could do for some yack yack! How about a little yack yack?

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Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (


Parabola (par-ab’-o-la): The explicit drawing of a parallel between two essentially dissimilar things, especially with a moral or didactic purpose. A parable.

The crocus is the first to bloom and the first to wither.

Accordingly, sometimes being last is best.

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Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (


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

Fox News follows the principle of Foxspindoxa: The expectation that anchor Bill O’Reilly’s spin will be echoed day and night by network affiliates for a minimum of 12 hours, and/or be immediately replaced when a concurrent spin is spun by Bill within the 12-hour period.

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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 am not going to mention the fact that you had a bag full of Russian rubles and a half-eaten kulebyáka when you were caught throwing rocks at the Luhansk Security Services Building yesterday. The tattoo of shirtless Putin driving a tank on the back of your neck isn’t worth mentioning either. Why should we believe you’re a hired provocateur? Unthinkable! Impossible!

Take him back to his cell!

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Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (


Paramythia (pa-ra-mee’-thi-a): An expression of consolation and encouragement.

So, you didn’t change the world overnight. But, there’s a difference between overnight and over a lifetime. Set your vision farther forward and follow the path of giants–of Mahatma, Martin, and Nelson; of Aung, Corazon, and Nadezhda and the all the women and men who made it their life’s work to work for social, political, and economic change. Now, adjust your vision and get back to work. The future is undetermined.  Time is on your side.

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Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (


Paraprosdokian: A figure of speech in which the latter part of a sentence or phrase [or series = anticlimax] is surprising or unexpected in a way that causes the reader or listener to reframe the first part. . . . For this reason, it is extremely popular among comedians and satirists. An especially clever paraprosdokian not only changes the meaning of an early phrase, but also plays on the double meaning of a particular word.(1)

Give every man your ear but not thy finger.

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1. “Paraprosdokian.” WikipediaThe Free Encyclopedia. 4 Jan 2008, 03:30 UTC. Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. 9 Jan 2008 <>.


Paregmenon (pa-reg’-men-on): A general term for the repetition of a word or its cognates in a short sentence. Often, but not always, polyptoton.

Bound by faith, we are bound by a common dream! Our dream is  our hope, and our “hope is the expectation of victory.”

Today we dream of liberation. Tomorrow we will awaken freedom! Tomorrow we will stand in the light of justice, see truth manifest and feel the unfathomable joy of of being free!

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Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (


Pareuresis (par-yur-ee’-sis): To put forward a convincing excuse. [Shifting the blame.]

I just started as CEO of General Mortars. There is no way I had access to any information regarding defective ignition pins prior to September 1, 2014. You should be querying my predecessor who now works for General Mortals–the company that makes four-wheeled coffins.

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