Monthly Archives: June 2014


Expeditio (ex-pe-di’-ti-o): After enumerating all possibilities by which something could have occurred, the speaker eliminates all but one (=apophasis). Although the Ad Herennium author lists expeditio as a figure, it is more properly considered a method of argument [and pattern of organization] (sometimes known as the “Method of Residues” when employed in refutation[, and “Elimination Order” when employed to organize a speech. The reference to ‘method’ hearkens back to the Ramist connection between organizational patterns of discourses and organizational patterns of arguments]).

Me: Why did you get a tattoo of a garage door opener on the right cheek of your butt? Wait, wait, don’t tell me! Knowing you, I think there are three possible reasons: 1. Donny Osmond has one.  I know for a fact that Donny has no tattoos on his butt (check out the YouTube video), so that’s out. 2. Your ‘little friends’ ordered you to do it. You’ve been taking your medication, so that’s out. 3. You acted on random impulse.  Since you’ve spent your life doing things without without considering their consequences (e.g. when you amputated your pinky), I’m going with option 3: random impulse, right?

You: I did what to my butt?

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Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” ( Bracketed text


Exuscitatio (ex-us-ci-ta’-ti-o): Stirring others by one’s own vehement feeling (sometimes by means of a rhetorical question, and often for the sake of exciting anger).

How much wood could a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood? 1 face chord? 10 face chords? 1,000,000 face chords? It’s time to stop asking “if” and get those lazy woodchucks chucking wood! I see too many waddling across the roadways of America! I see too many senselessly squished by motor vehicles! I see too many grazing on gardens when they could be doing something productive–like chucking wood!

I don’t know about you, but I’m ready to start rounding them up and putting them to work chucking wood in the Great American Northwest forests! And after we get the woodchucks chucking, we’ll go after the beavers–they can cut wood! Instead of destroying the environment with their sloppy looking dams and mosquito infested ponds, they can be put to work with woodchucks: Beavers chew and the chucks chuck!

Chew and chuck! Chew and chuck! Chew and chuck!

Let the People run the sawmills!

Make the woodchucks and beavers do the rest!

Are you with me!!?

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Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (


Gnome (nome or no’-mee): One of several terms describing short, pithy sayings. Others include adageapothegmmaximparoemiaproverb, and sententia.

The truth does not speak for itself.

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Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (


Graecismus (gree-kis’-mus): Using Greek words, examples, or grammatical structures. Sometimes considered an affectation of erudition.

There are more jumbled thoughts slopping around in my head than there are ingredients in Aristophanes’ famous fricassée λοπαδο­τεμαχο­σελαχο­γαλεο­κρανιο­λειψανο­δριμ­υπο­τριμματο­σιλφιο­καραβο­μελιτο­κατακεχυ­μενο­κιχλ­επι­κοσσυφο­φαττο­περιστερ­αλεκτρυον­οπτο­κεφαλλιο­κιγκλο­πελειο­λαγῳο­σιραιο­βαφη­τραγανο­πτερύγων!

Or, given my seemingly endless vexations, the mandate of brevity, and my recourse to a food metaphor, let us just say that I’m a Nutella® case.

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Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (


Hendiadys (hen-di’-a-dis): Expressing a single idea by two nouns [joined by a conjunction] instead of a noun and its qualifier. A method of amplification that adds force.

I’m sick and tired of  beginnings and endings.

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


Heterogenium (he’-ter-o-gen-i-um): Avoiding an issue by changing the subject to something different. Sometimes considered a vice.

Old Liberal News Reporter (Olnr): Now that you’ve lost the primary election to a college professor, are you considering reading a book or maybe getting an honorary degree somewhere so you’ll have a better chance of winning an election when you come out of hiding in a few years?

Erik Kant (E.K.): Well, Olnr, watch me on TheBlaze TV! 1.00 pm right after Pat & Stu. My program’s called “Still Snooty.” I’ll be doing in-depth analyses of the rise and decline of the American Empire.

Olnr: Isn’t that line of analysis begging the question E.K.?

E.K.: Well Olnr, if you don’t want to end up begging in the streets, call Goldlined Gold Mine today and order your Mind Your Own Business Medallion! Made of five ounces of 100% genuine pure Yellow Lustrium®, the obverse of the medal features a fairly accurate profile of the soon-to-be Emperor of the Republic of Idaho Maximus Convalle Innuo.* The reverse features an image of a plucked eagle and the inscription: “Reparo Aurum.”

Olnr: Hmmm. Uh, well um, we wish you . . .

E.K.: . . . a Merry Christmas? Ho! Ho! Ho! Don’t forget to watch me on Still Snooty! Do yourself and your other self a favor, and order up a bagful of Mind Your Own Business medallions! And whatever you do, don’t tread on me, or thin ice, or the Beltway, or dog poop. Eat lots of red meat and Caesar salad! Stock up on toilet paper, canned goods and roof racks! Reparo aurum! Wear a toga.

Olnr: Uh, ok E.K., whatever you say.  Hey, I hear  sirens coming our way, so I guess it’s time to bring this segment of Left Wing Moderate Brainwash to a close. Any last words for the viewers before you’re “assisted” by our friendly team of Médecins Sans Frontières medics who’ll safely render you to the quiet solitude of the United Nations basement where you will enjoy a brief all expenses paid drug induced coma topped off by a one-week “trip” courtesy of Dr. T’s Learycillin® and a private one-to-one meeting with Noam Chomsky?

E.K.: Well a big YO to all you Frank Buck Power Rangers out there! Until our next incarnation, totsiens and don’t ever forget that SHE wore blue Velveta® gloves and carried a diamond studded Slim Jim® between her teeth. And for that . . .

*Loosely translated: Supreme Glen[n] Beck[on]

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Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (


Homoioptoton (ho-mee-op-to’-ton): The repetition of similar case endings in adjacent words or in words in parallel position.

Note: Since this figure only works with inflected languages, it has often been conflated with homoioteleuton and (at least in English) has sometimes become equivalent to simple rhyme: “To no avail, I ate a snail.”

I have often thought that ‘something’ is like the stuff stuffed in sausages by somebody some place, where vagueness might fill an empty thing that does not sting, that has no weight, that could be a sort of freight shipped on a shadow cast on moving liquid with an underneath beneath it.

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Definition and commentary courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (


Homoioteleuton (ho-mee-o-te-loot’-on): Similarity of endings of adjacent or parallel words.

ISIS by the truck full. They struck Mosul and took control almost in the blink of an eye. Everybody’s asking “Why?” Why did the Iraqi security forces drop their guns and start running?  Why didn’t they see it coming when the border with Syria disappeared weeks ago?

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Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (


Horismus (hor-is’-mus): Providing a clear, brief definition, especially by explaining differences between associated terms.

Love: Eternity’s echo resounding in the thump of Jubal’s pulse.  Love surpasses liking as liking surpasses interest, as interest surpasses indifference, as indifference barely surpasses death, devoid of hope and fear, a durable monument to mortality set on a crooked pedestal leaning toward Irony.

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Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (


Hypallage (hy-pal’-la-ge): Shifting the application of words. Mixing the order of which words should correspond with which others. Also, sometimes, a synonym for metonymy (see Quintilian).

His brutish butt hung half-moon over the rampart as he sat on its edge eating a bagful of jellied donuts. Never a model soldier, his rear end stood watch while his drooling eyes surveyed the blots of grease staining his beloved bakery bag.

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Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (


Hyperbaton (hy-per’-ba-ton): 1. An inversion of normal word order. A generic term for a variety of figures involving transposition, it is sometimes synonymous with anastrophe. 2. Adding a word or thought to a sentence that is already semantically complete, thus drawing emphasis to the addition.

My life is desire wanting unfulfilled; paragons, paradigms, prototypes pressed in rushing currents of time the many faces of memory, truth, anxiety and opinion shimmer changing into each other in the sparkling dimness of deceasing, and finally disappearing entirely fulfilled by the corpse.

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Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (


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

I opened my eyes, got out of bed, made coffee, turned on the TV and watched my second wife making a sock puppet on the knitting channel. She finished the sock puppet and put it on her hand. It looked like me thirty years ago. Swinging my sock puppet mullet back and forth she made the sock puppet me say, “The hell I will!” The screen went blank and up popped an ad for Pagan Mingle, “We make the sacrifice, you get the partner.” I felt a tickling sensation in my lips and . . .

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Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (


Hysterologia (his-ter-o-lo’-gi-a): A form of hyperbaton or parenthesis in which one interposes a phrase between a preposition and its object.  Also, a synonym for hysteron proteron.

I made my way through (although my head was spinning) the dimly lit corridor. I could hear the clicking of high heels ahead of me. It had to be her. “Mommy” I yelled. No response. Then, I heard another clicking sound, but this time it wasn’t high heels. Dizzy and disoriented in the near-darkness as I was, I could recognize that sound anywhere! It was Mommy’s false teeth chattering–those cheap teeth she bought on our trip to Hong Kong ten years ago.

It was music to my ears.

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Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (