Enthymeme


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.)

  • Post your own enthymeme on the “Comments” page!

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

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