Monthly Archives: September 2017


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 around nine feet tall. He had long brown shaggy hair and a reddish beard around one foot long. His eyes were yellow and his teeth were sharply pointed. He had a golden hoop erring in each of his ears. His hands looked like flesh-covered vises. He was wearing a beautiful gray hand-tailored suit and a Brooks Brothers tie with pictures of martinis printed on it. His shoes were brown and made of some kind of reptile skin–most likely alligator–most likely very expensive

It was my first day at work and Mr. Adams was my boss!  I couldn’t wait to start working with him, learning from him, and possibly becoming good friends.

Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (


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

When the going gets tough . . . . Got it? It’s time to help Sisyphus push that piece of crap up the hill to the garage. I can’t believe he bought a used KIA from one of those roadside rip-off car lots. He’s too vain to call a tow truck. This is his punishment.

But why the hell are we helping him? Hmmm–oh well: when in need . . .

Let’s go.

Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (

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

This is crazy. That is insane. Between this and that is nothing–nothing without a name–not crazy, not insane. Rather, it makes the silence of juxtaposed equivalencies.  Why might there be a third beat? 1. Crazy. 2. Insane. 3. Crackers.

There. There we have it and many more. With a little effort we could probably eke out ten beats more–with each beat shedding a subtly different glow, and casting a slightly different shadow on the silence between this and that.

Bonkers? Around the bend? Playing with half a deck? Nuts? Unhinged? Non compos mentis? A screw loose?

Educate yourself on madness’s nuances as they are reflected in its endless names. Like some god or goddess it has a protean character: endlessly named it morphs and remains the same.

Touched? Batshit? Whacky? Bananas?

Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (


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

Tomorrow I shall kill. The blood will flow, yet many people will be grateful. They will be grateful for the cuts of meat to sacrifice to the soft white clouds moving across the blue sky, to the light breezes that make tree branches hardly sway in the summer heat, and the empty quiet battlefields blessed with the quiet of peace: to Nuada, god of the sky, the wind, and war.

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.

We are living in strange times–times that are riddled with the prospect for riddles!


Q: Poor people have it. Rich people need it. If you eat it you die. What is it?

It is kind of like health insurance.

The answer is nothing. It does not quite fit, but it’s good enough to make my point.

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 dirty dishes are piled high in the sink. There’s a sponge and some detergent right there by the faucet. If you put water on a dish and rub it with a soapy sponge something amazing happens! It gets clean. A whole pile of dirty dishes could get clean this way!

Are you getting any interesting ideas related to soap, water, sponges and dirty dishes?

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. It’s noon. Let’s eat!

2. If tranquility should be pursued, tumult should be avoided.

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).

There have been millions, billions, most likely, trillions of dollars spent on researching the causes of lots of things and supporting others. As your President I believe that’s too much. These tax dollars could be spent elsewhere on things like walls, gates, golf courses, hotels, fighter jets, coal mines, pipelines and other things to make “America Great Again.”

Getting back to the money that’s been spent:

Did you know the US government has spent around $5 billion per year on cancer research? Ha! What a waste! How many years has this “research” been going on? Forever! Enough already!

Did you know the US government spent around $108 billion on education? My God! As far as I can see, we don’t need a bunch of over-educated eggheads running the country and telling us what to do. What kind of President would Einstein make? He would’ve built A-bombs and blown us all the hell.

Did you know the US government spends around $550 million on “occupational safety and health”? First, it’s beyond me how occupational safety and health can be part of the same government agency! Health has to do with colds and rickets and things like that! Give me a break. “Occupational safety” is another way of saying keep piling on the rules and regulations until businesses can’t make a decent profit. Where I come from, if you take the job, you assume the risk: lose a finger, contract black lung: it’s all the same. You knew what you were getting into! Suck it up.

There are many more examples of US government spending gone wild. We need to reprioritize government spending–put the dollars where they count to make real differences in the lives of the American people.

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.

I really like coffee ice cream. No. Actually, I love coffee ice cream.  Wait! The truth is, I worship coffee ice cream! Each time I eat it, I pray to it. I pray that it won’t drip on my t-shirt, give me pimples, or make my sinuses hurt.

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. Note: Epenthesis 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.

I’m a snappy finger pop-a-ping man. Any ideas what that means? In any case, you better watch out or you’ll come under my spell.

Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (


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

My dog, canis lupus familiaris poop & run, had done it again. He dropped a clandestine crap bomb on my neighbor’s front lawn. My neighbor found it with his shoe. My neighbor is dancing on one foot and yelling obscenities.

Should I venture over there with a baggie and some paper towels? I can feign righteous indignation at ‘whatever dog’ did it and hopefully protect my dog from my neighbor’s wrath.

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. . .”).

I ask: Who put the peach in impeach? Who put the suit in lawsuit?

I don’t know the answer to my question, but I think there’s some impeaching and law-suiting on the horizon. That is to say, I think Trump’s going to get what suits him, and it will be peachy!

 Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (


Epicrisis (e-pi-cri’-sis): When a speaker quotes a certain passage and makes comment upon it.

Related figures: anamenesis–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.

Joseph Campbell tells us: “We must let go of the life we have planned, so as to accept the one that is waiting for us.”

If we take his advice to heart we can finally get rid of life coaches, high school guidance counsellors, tarot card readers, haruspices and everybody else who tries to make the unknowable future knowable by virtue of having a plan!

Ironically though, Campbell’s advice is sort of future-directed, and lays out a plan: a plan not to have a plan. Accordingly, it seems that as far as we’re able to consider the future, we are stuck with planning–even if it’s not to have a plan.

Definitions courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (


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

We’ve tried everything. Nothing’s worked. We all know what that means.

Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (


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

X: I want a car. Can I please have a car? I’m begging you for a car. I need a car. All my friends have cars. Please, just one little car. I’ll even take a used car. Can’t I have a car?

Y: Some day you will have a car, but not now. You don’t even have a driver’s license yet! After you get a license, we’ll start talking about a car. In the meantime, please, no more asking.

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].

What is North Korea up to? Will its threats ever be carried out? Is the Chubby Dictator going to launch a missile attack?

These are questions that we’d like to get definitive answers for, but the Chubby Dictator is a blustering enigmatic idiot.

However, if the past is a predictor of the future, it is most likely the case that North Korea is up to nothing–that the threats will not be carried out and the Chubby Dictator will launch no missiles, but rather, he will continue to launch insults directed toward the US & most likely toward President Trump (whose chain is easily yanked).

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.

Your ideas are crazy. Your friends are crazy. You are driving me crazy!

Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (

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Epitasis (e-pit’-a-sis): The addition of a concluding sentence that merely emphasizes what has already been stated. A kind of amplification. [The opposite of anesis.]

Hurricane Irma is the worst! Its destructive force is unparalleled.

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

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Epitheton (e-pith’-e-ton): Attributing to a person or thing a quality or description-sometimes by the simple addition of a descriptive adjective; sometimes through a descriptive or metaphorical apposition.  (Note: If the description is given in place of the name, instead of in addition to it, it becomes antonomasia or periphrasis.)

Donald Trump is an adolescent in grownup’s clothing.

Somebody should get President Trump a fidget spinner, a pair of black hi-top Converse sneakers, “Grand Theft Auto V,” and a vape pen.

Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (

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Epitrope (e-pi’-tro-pe): A figure in which one turns things over to one’s hearers, either pathetically, ironically, or in such a way as to suggest a proof of something without having to state it. Epitrope often takes the form of granting permission (hence its Latin name, permissio), submitting something for consideration, or simply referring to the abilities of the audience to supply the meaning that the speaker passes over (hence Puttenham’s term, figure of reference). Epitrope can be either biting in its irony, or flattering in its deference.

You know better than I do what it means to be unemployed, hungry, homeless. You’ve been there. And now you’re back on your feet. Things are looking better. Life, dare we say it, is looking good.

I think you’re in a position that few people are in. There is a pressing need to help people who’re in the predicament you were once in. You found your way out–not alone, but with the help and influence of others: ‘others’ who were just like you are now: experienced, compassionate, generous.

You would not have come here today if you weren’t interested! All that we ask is that you turn your interest into action.

Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (

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Epizeugma (ep-i-zoog’-ma): Placing the verb that holds together the entire sentence (made up of multiple parts that depend upon that verb) either at the very beginning or the very ending of that sentence.

Looking, seeing, we are ready to begin. We go from the heart, across bridges built of desire, wondering at the distance that must be traversed between beginnings and endings–walking with hope, pushing back despair: at last, crossing and resting under the soft green grass.

Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (

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Epizeuxis: Repetition of the same word, with none between, for vehemence. Synonym for palilogia.

Go! Go! Go!

Not there! What the hell is wrong with you?

Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (

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Erotema (e-ro-tem’-a): The rhetorical question. To affirm or deny a point strongly by asking it as a question. Generally, as Melanchthon has noted, the rhetorical question includes an emotional dimension, expressing wonder, indignation, sarcasm, etc.

What? Are you kidding me? This will be the third night in a row we’ve had some kind of beans for dinner. Do you want me to blow a hole in my bedspread? Come on, why don’t we have something less volatile? How about calve’s liver and cottage cheese?

Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (

Buy a print edition of The Daily Trope! The print edition is entitled The Book of Tropes and is available on Amazon for $9.99. There is also a Kindle edition available for $5.99.