Monthly Archives: September 2014


Ellipsis (el-lip’-sis): Omission of a word or short phrase easily understood in context.

Yesterday, I shaved my head. Tough! Rough!

Uh oh!

Problem. Five o’clock shadow around bald spot.

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Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (


Enallage (e-nal’-la-ge): The substitution of grammatically different but semantically equivalent constructions.

The rain in Phoenix fell and fell and fell.  Drenched with nearly 2 inches of H2O, Interstate 17 closed, the airport closed, and 31,000 suburban Phonecians lost their electricity.

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Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (


Enantiosis (e-nan-ti-o’-sis): Using opposing or contrary descriptions together, typically in a somewhat paradoxical manner.

It’s generally a good idea to tell the truth, but sometimes it gets innocent people killed.

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Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (


Enigma (e-nig’-ma): Obscuring one’s meaning by presenting it within a riddle or by means of metaphors that purposefully challenge the reader or hearer to understand.

What gets hotter and hotter the more it cools?

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Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (


Ennoia (en-no’-i-a): A kind of purposeful holding back of information that nevertheless hints at what is meant. A kind of circuitous speaking.

The car is covered in bird poop and mud. The bucket, sponge and hose are over there. The vacuum’s by the porch, near the faucet.

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Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (


Enthymeme (en’-thy-meem): 1. The informal method [or figure] of reasoning typical of rhetorical discourse. The enthymeme is sometimes defined as a “truncated syllogism” since either the major or minor premise found in that more formal method of reasoning is left implied. The enthymeme typically occurs as a conclusion coupled with a reason. When several enthymemes are linked together, this becomes sorites. 2.  A figure of speech which bases a conclusion on the truth of its contrary. [Depending on its grammatical structure and specific word choice, it may be chiasmus].

1. We made it to New Hampshire! Let the fun begin!

2. If justice should be pursued always all the time, injustice should be avoided always all the time.

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


Epanodos (e-pan’-o-dos): 1. Repeating the main terms of an argument in the course of presenting it. 2. Returning to the main theme after a digression. 3. Returning to and providing additional detail for items mentioned previously (often using parallelism).

Uncertainty is looking for faith, faith for the foundation of trust, trust for the will to believe, belief for the motive to act.

Sadly, there’s no guaranteed connection between faith, trust, belief, and action’s consequences. Things often do not ‘turn out’ as expected. Nevertheless, we cannot jettison faith, trust, belief and action.  Ironically, claiming not to be a bearer of faith, one is claiming to have faith in not having faith. The same goes for trust.  That is, mistrust is trust, nevertheless. The same goes for belief.  That is, disbelief is belief, nevertheless. Regarding action, action inevitably conjures consequences: even inaction has consequences, as does indifference.

So, we are left with irony as the atmosphere of human existence: everything is potentially its opposite, and judgment navigates being’s endlessly revolving sphere by turning and returning to yes and no, time after time after time. . . .

So, uncertainty is looking for faith, faith for the foundation of trust, trust for the will to believe, belief for the motive to act. Looking, looking, looking–never seeing, we survive Irony’s atmosphere by attending the banquet of conversation and consuming the hooked exclamation points that pass as question marks. Being hooked, what is there left to say?

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Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (


Epanorthosis (ep-an-or-tho’-sis): Amending a first thought by altering it to make it stronger or more vehement.

The outcome of today’s referendum in Scotland will have significant consequences no matter whether it’s a yes or a no vote for independence.

No, let’s put it this way: The Pound is losing weight, the price of crude is bubbling, Johnny Walker has on his running shoes, and my grandma is in her bedroom yelling “Wha daur meddle wi me!” at her Big Ben chiming souvenir clock.

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Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (


Epenthesis (e-pen’-thes-is): The addition of a letter, sound, or syllable to the middle of a word. A kind of metaplasm. NoteEpenthesis is sometimes employed in order to accommodate meter in verse; sometimes, to facilitate easier articulation of a word’s sound. It can, of course, be accidental, and a vice of speech.

The NFUH OHL! What’s next? Drowning kittens? Cannibalism? Drive-by mooning? Satan worship? Communist quarterbacks?

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Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (


Epergesis (e-per-gee’-sis): Interposing an apposition, often in order to clarify what has just been stated.

My cat, the thirty pounder, started working out today.

Instead of napping all day downstairs, he climbs the stairs around 11.00 in the morning and naps in the bathtub. Then, in the early evening he goes down the stairs and naps until around 7.00 in the living room. Then, he goes down the stairs into the basement and naps until around 10.00. Then, he goes upstairs and does his cardboard box “scratchercise” for five minutes, hurling bits of cardboard around the kitchen floor. Then, out of breath, he flops on the kitchen floor and waits for his nightly kitty treat.

Not a bad workout for a thirty-pound cat!

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Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (


Epexegesis (ep-ex-e-ge’-sis): When one interprets what one has just said. A kind of redefinition or self-interpretation (often signaled by constructions such as “that is to say. . .”).

Promises are meant to be kept. That is, once made, they’re supposed to last forever. But I live in a world of change, and as change changes, I may be left holding onto a promise that may explode in my face and kill me.

What good are promises? They are only as good as their openness to revision where circumstances warrant their breaking.

Every promise should be unless, unless the promise is meant to be unkept. That is to say, when it is a lie.

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Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (


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.

Pascal advises us: “Belief is a wise wager. Granted that faith cannot be proved, what harm will come to you if you gamble on its truth and it proves false?”

He gives this advice as a reason to believe in God. However belief and faith encompass far more than religion. Faith and belief are operative in everyday life. From faith in our friends, to the belief that Oxyclean will do the job on our wine-stained shorts, we “gamble.”

Unlike one’s faith in God (which does not really seem to be much of a gamble anyway), faith’s gamble on friends and laundry products can, and do, lead to harm. Our friends betray us. Our pants are ruined.

Moreover, not knowing whether we will win or lose, we must gamble if we are to face the future and act. The prospects of having friends and clean pants are worth the risk.

On Wednesday in a speech addressing the world, acting as a sort of political trustee, President Obama will place a bet for the United States. Having faith in the wisdom of his wager, he will most likely bet on war.

What if we lose?

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Definitions courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (


Epilogus (e-pi-lo’-gus): Providing an inference of what is likely to follow.

What’s next? Peace? War?

WE know what’s next.

THEY know what’s next.

It isn’t peace.

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Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (


Epimone (e-pi’-mo-nee): Persistent repetition of the same plea in much the same words.

Please don’t start marching until you know where you’re going.

Please don’t start dropping bombs until you know where they should fall.

If you must do it, please do it right.

The world is on fire.

Fight fire with water.

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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].

When will NATO actually take action? When Ukraine is annexed? When Hell freezes over? When the cow jumps over the moon? When Putin takes his shirt off? When John Kerry gets a haircut? When?

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


Epistrophe (e-pis’-tro-fee): Ending a series of lines, phrases, clauses, or sentences with the same word or words.

The horizon. The landscape’s horizon. The future’s horizon. Time’s horizon. Life’s horizon.

Facing the horizon, we ask, “What’s next?” We answer, “We don’t know.”

Anxiety stoked, we ask again, “What’s next?” This time the question has an urgent tone.

Decision is our fate. Decision is our duty. Decision is our humanity, and our humanity is bound by imperfection, uncertainty, and agency swaying to the chiming questions tolling in our heads:

Why? Why? Why? Why?

Love? Hate? Hope? Fear?

How? How? How? How?

When? When? When? When?

Now? Never? Tomorrow? Forever?

You decide.

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Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (