Asteismus


Asteismus (as-te-is’-mus): Polite or genteel mockery. More specifically, a figure of reply in which the answerer catches a certain word and throws it back to the first speaker with an unexpected twist. Less frequently, a witty use of allegory or comparison, such as when a literal and an allegorical meaning are both implied.

Jeff: I didn’t remember when I was asked that I had met with a Russian ambassador. That’s why I answered in the negative.

Nancy: Well here’s something for you to remember now: I think you should resign for lying to a Congressional committee.

Jeff: I didn’t lie.

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

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

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