Monthly Archives: December 2016


Ecphonesis (ec-pho-nee’-sis): An emotional exclamation.

Pat: “I’m going crazy!”

Sam: “So am I! Let’s dance!”

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Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (



Effictio (ef-fik’-ti-o): A verbal depiction of someone’s body, often from head to toe.

Note: This figure was used in forensic rhetoric (legal argumentation) for purposes of clearly identifying an alleged criminal. It has often been adapted to poetical uses.

He was lying on his back in a pool of blood in the alleyway between the “Bar of Good Hope” and a hardware store. His head looked like a pumpkin that had been sitting on somebody’s porch steps for a month. It was caved in on both sides–mercilessly crushed by the assailant’s baseball bat, which was lying on the concrete walkway alongside the victim. The victim’s brown eyes had a dull film over them and the victim wasn’t breathing, leaving no doubt that he was dead. I checked his pulse anyway. Dead. Dead as can be.

He was around six feet-three inches tall with sandy blond hair. He was wearing a gold wedding band. In addition, he was wearing red shorts, a black T-shirt, and expensive jogging shoes. He was muscular–broad shoulders and sculpted biceps, flat stomach, and legs that looked like he could out-sprint anybody on the body-recovery team.

He had no identification, so he would be admitted to the morgue as “John Doe.” Perhaps the assailant stole his wallet, but the brutality of the beating, and leaving the murder weapon behind, indicate this was a crime of passion: of anger, of love gone bad, or one of the other seemingly endless motives involved in murder.

Next, we need to figure out who this dead guy is, and then, create a list of suspects, and haul them into the Station for interrogation.

It’s not going to be easy solving this one. But once it hits the press, we may get some leads. Also, we’ll be checking fingerprints.

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Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (


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

There’s too much stuff piling up on the dining room table. Periodicals. Bills. Catalogs. Newspapers. Empty coffee mugs. Dead flowers. A bundt cake. Potato chips. Crackers. Empty wine bottle. And more.

We need to clear it off!

Who’s going to make the first move?

You help me, and I you.

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Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (

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

It snowed for three days as the temperature hovered around zero fahrenheit. Sadly, a small group of homeless people froze to death under the blanket of snow. Five people killed because of the snow and the temperature and our failure to find them and give them the option of being transported to one of the city’s many homeless shelters.

We need to be more proactive in finding homeless people and letting them know there are shelters and, if desired, taking them to one the shelters. Our city’s shelters are warm and their food is good. In addition to having a hot meal, there are beds and showers, and free laundromats.

We can’t ignore the the plight of homeless people. As human beings, they deserve our respect and support. So, keep an eye out for them and show them that we care by offering them assistance in finding and taking shelter.

Thank you.

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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.

Tonight, I will steal, yet be known as honorable.

For what I steal will be sold and the money distributed to those who really need it.

I am an honest and generous thief.

Call me “Robbing Hood.”

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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.

Hey! Stop! Stay where you are and listen to my riddle:

“The more you take, the more you leave behind.”

What’s the answer to this riddle?

It’s footsteps: the more you take the more you leave behind.

Okay, be patient, I’m getting to my point and here it is:

When you come in after playing outside in the snow, stay on the tiled entryway until you’ve taken off  your boots! Then, when you step into the living room, walk across its carpet into the kitchen, and grab a snack out of the refrigerator,  all you’ll leave behind will be steps–not snowy, slushy or muddy footprints.

So, take the necessary step (ha ha): take off your boots before you step on the living room carpet.

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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 kitchen counter is covered with spillage from your most recent heartfelt attempt to make a figgy pudding (by the way, if I have to listen to any more Bing Crosby Christmas songs, I’m going to pull off my ears and feed them to our neighbor’s Wolf-a-poo).

Anyway, the counter-top cleanser is under the sink. You can see the sponges from where you’re standing, and the scrub brush (just in case) is under the sink too, next to the cleanser. There’s a huge roll of paper towels on the sink too.

But before I go to bed, let’s have some “figgy pudding and a cup of good cheer” and talk briefly about the “good tidings” Bing has supposedly brought us.

Here’s my problem: Bing has been making the “tidings”promise to me for the past 51 Christmases–and so far nothing’s shown up, either glad or sad, and to make things worse, Bing has been dead for awhile. Can he bring tidings from the other side? Maybe I don’t know what a “tiding” is? I’m going to look “tiding” up.

I looked it up!

What’s the point of singing about tidings–giving musical  announcements at Christmas in lieu of something more substantial:  I’d much rather have some cool driving gloves from Santa than an ‘announcement’ from Bing. The way it’s set up in the song, tidings are just an excuse to indulge in figgy pudding and alcoholic beverages. So Bing’s tiding is an excuse to eat a desert cake and down a few hot toddys. I guess that’s ok with me.

Merry Christmas! Good tidings to you (with a side order of cake and rum).

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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. You better take an umbrella. It is raining outside. (Possible implied premises: you want to stay dry.  The umbrella will keep you dry because it is specifically designed to do so [if you use it properly].)

2. If virtue is an ideal that should be pursued, vice should be avoided. (Vice is contrary to virtue.)

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