Monthly Archives: May 2015

Apagoresis

Apagoresis (a-pa-gor’-e-sis): A statement designed to inhibit someone from doing something. Often uses exaggeration [or hyperbole] to persuade. It may combine an exaggeration with a cause/effect or antecedent/consequence relationship. The consequences or effects of such a phrase are usually exaggerated to be more convincing.

Pew, that stinks!  Do that again and I’m going to pull over to the side of the road, get out the duct tape, and seal your gas pipe! Roll down the windows my eyes are burning! You are disgusting.

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Definitions courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (rhetoric.byu.edu). Bracketed text added by Gorgias.

 

Aphaeresis

Aphaeresis (aph-aer’-e-sis): The omission of a syllable or letter at the beginning of a word. A kind of metaplasm.

NOW! Move it! It’s time to do the Hokey Pokey and turn ourselves ’round! We all know that’s what it’s all about. Get whirling you wild dervishes!

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

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Aphorismus

Aphorismus ( a-phor-is’-mus): Calling into question the proper use of a word.

You call that a car? It looks more like a four-wheeled septic tank!

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

 

Apocarteresis

Apocarteresis (a-po-car-ter’-e-sis): Casting of all hope away from one thing and placing it on another source altogether.

There was always love, and I took it, and I twisted it, and I tore it; I crumpled it, lit it on fire and threw it over the abyss between knowing and hoping–burning, sparking, smoking, falling, drowning in the bitter sloe pool; lukewarm and slithering–churning and grey, thick with the ashes of extinguished love–a perfect sump for hell.

Now, as I awaken frigid in the dim cramped closet where I hang, smelling camphor, and mothballs, and the left-over odors of long-departed clothes, I think of the bodies that wore them as they tore through life’s fashion arcade, wanting to look good, wanting to wear the latest, wanting to be admired and loved.

Now gone forever, only their empty hangers remain–some are plastic, some are wire, some are cedar, but they all hang quietly with eternally perfect spaces between them, keeping them perfectly apart.

How do I get down from here and touch the floor, and feel its wooden smoothness underneath my feet?

If I could only unbutton the clothes that hold me, I could slide off my hanger, leave my pants, and sandals, and shirt, and softly walk away.

To feel the wood, and then the earth, under my bare wiggly toes! To feel the sun and brush my teeth!

Back on the surface, back on my feet, I shall walk naked to Paradise (a famous shopping mall). There, I shall be refashioned; and looking good, and being admired, I shall be loved, and being loved, like a permanent-press shirt I shall tumble dry on low and feel the warmth of the cycle as my wrinkles smooth. I will I find love, and give love, and be loved, and that’s all there is.

Back to the ground! Back to the dirt! Back to the pleasures and all the things that hurt.

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

Apocope

Apocope (a-pok’-o-pe): Omitting a letter or syllable at the end of a word. A kind of metaplasm.

I’m goin’ to the supermarket right after lunch. Is there anythin’ I can get you?

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

 

Apodixis

Apodixis (a-po-dix’-is): Proving a statement by referring to common knowledge or general experience.

There is no way I took your Apple Watch. What the heck would I do with it? I don’t even have an iPad, let alone an Apple-anything. You know I hate Apple–I’m close friends with Bob Gates for crying out loud!

We’ve been friends since high school–that’s 35 years! Have I ever taken anything from you ever? No! Why would I start now?

Do you think I need to steal stuff to sell to make money? Come on, I make $650,000 per year. Even if your watch was the $15,000 model, I could buy a dozen and throw them at homeless people on freeway on-ramps just for kicks!

Jeez!  If this is such a big deal, I’ll even buy you a new one!

OK? Settled?

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

 

Apophasis

Apophasis (a-pof’-a-sis): The rejection of several reasons why a thing should or should not be done and affirming a single one, considered most valid.

Should I get another tattoo?

1. No. Three are enough.

2. No. My wife will hit me with a garden tool.

3. No. I’m too old for another tattoo.

So, I guess not.

Hmmm. Wait a minute–I’ve changed my mind. I really, really, really want another tattoo, and wanting another one is a good enough reason for me.

Why else would you get a tattoo?

Now, I’ve got to figure out what it’s going to be and where to put it. Major challenge.

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

 

Apoplanesis

Apoplanesis (a-po-plan’-e-sis): Promising to address the issue but effectively dodging it through a digression.

Question: What is your concept of truth?

Answer: Truth! Ah, yes. Well, I can answer that and truthfully too.  Ha Ha.

Now, concepts can be vexing especially when we try to pin down what exactly a concept is, and a ‘concept’ of truth–woo: Truth in Italics, Truth in Bold Face, Truth underlined, Capital T Truth, lowercase t truth, or “truth” in quotation marks? So many ways of saying, displaying, and delivering the T word.

But.

Truth is not about fonts, faces, upper- and lower-cases, or quotation marks. Truth is trusting, just as much as it is actual.

So, truth is like going out on a limb & when the limb snaps & when you hit the ground–the solid, hard, unforgiving ground–no leaves, go grass, no flowers, no bumblebees, puppies, pillows, or trampolines–just bare-naked earth–you wonder: Did I just hit the earth or did the earth hit me? As you wonder, you realize you’re unconscious, and being conscious of being unconscious, you know what truth is.

Right?

Now, let’s go back to watching “Game of Thrones.”

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

 

Aporia

Aporia (a-po’-ri-a): Deliberating with oneself as though in doubt over some matter; asking oneself (or rhetorically asking one’s hearers) what is the best or appropriate way to approach something [=diaporesis].

How many hummingbirds can dance on the head of a large corporation?

On South Carolina?

On Patterson, New Jersey?

On a small cafeteria-sized bowl of Jello?

On a tennis court?

Under an umbrella?

But hummingbirds can’t dance.

Well, there you have it dance-wise, but what about sit-wise, stand-wise, or even hover-over-wise?

Be patient. Rome wasn’t built out of hummingbirds, and it took more than a couple of weeks. That’s why all roads lead to Rome, but you can’t make a horse drink.

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

 

Aposiopesis

Aposiopesis (a-pos-i-o-pee’-sis): Breaking off suddenly in the middle of speaking, usually to portray being overcome with emotion.

You what? You ran over our pet rabbit? You mean Little Bill–Billy’s . . . You monster. You murderer. Little Billy is dead and you killed him.

You were always jealous of Little Billy’s ‘special place’ on my lap and the cute squealing noises he made when I scratched his big fluffy ears.

The only time you ever squealed was when you fell off the front porch with martini number four in your hand.  I was hoping the toothpick in the olive poked your eye out, but it was the little pile of bunny poops you landed in that made you squeal.

Damn you. Get a paper bag and a shovel and I’ll meet you by the apple tree. Little Billy loved apples and I loved Little Billy. Damn you.

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

 

Apostrophe

Apostrophe (a-pos’-tro-phe): Turning one’s speech from one audience to another. Most often, apostrophe occurs when one addresses oneself to an abstraction, to an inanimate object, or to the absent.

Truth.

What is your point?

To set me free?

To enslave me?

Truth.

What is your measure?

Sincerity?

Fact?

Consensus?

Authority?

Truth.

You are a belief without a conscience.

Now, you are present.

Now you are not.

Truth.

Outside of time, outside of circumstances, your invocation is a ruse; a magic trick; a catastrophe; a blinding light; a moonless, starless, skyless night.

No firmament

No ground.

No up or down.

No Truth

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