Monthly Archives: January 2018


Antitheton (an-tith’-e-ton): A proof or composition constructed of contraries. Antitheton is closely related to and sometimes confused with the figure of speech that juxtaposes opposing terms, antithesis. However, it is more properly considered a figure of thought (=Topic of Invention: Contraries [a topic of invention in which one considers opposite or incompatible things that are of the same kind (if they are of different kinds, the topic of similarity / difference is more appropriate). Because contraries occur in pairs and exclude one another, they are useful in arguments because one can establish one’s case indirectly, proving one’s own assertion by discrediting the contrary]).


If lying is bad, telling the truth must be good. Seems incontrovertible, right? I wish it was that easy! The classic example: You’re hiding your neighbor from the Nazis. They ask you if you know where she is.  You know where she is, but you lie to save your neighbor’s life. Something in the circumstances trumps lying’s badness in this particular case. You may certainly (?) say that generally speaking telling the truth is the right thing to do & it’s opposite, lying, is consequentially the wrong thing to do: but not always.

So, are there any binary terms with social import that aren’t capable of shedding their ‘differences’ and swapping  consequences in particular circumstances? As in the example above, lying seems morally superior to telling the truth.  Accordingly, although telling the truth and lying are paired and will always be different by definition, in practice, in particular cases their moral valences can and should flip.

Telling the truth to Nazis about the whereabouts of your neighbor may be worse than lying, even the though the Nazis have “every legal right” to arrest your neighbor and deport her off to a concentration camp.

So, what are you going do when a law enforcement officer knocks on your door and pleasantly asks if you know the whereabouts of your undocumented Guatemalan neighbor, who you know is hiding in your garage. Lie? Tell the truth?

To be sure, the severity of the consequences for the ‘hiding’ people in the examples above may be somewhat different as are the motives behind the laws sanctioning their arrests. In both cases though, to the authorities, the people they were hunting were (and are) aliens who were (and are) fair game by law.

Think of all the people who were complicit with the Nazis: “She’s down in my basement.” “She’s hiding in my garage.”

Just remember in a particular case the truth won’t always set you free. It may burden you with doing harm to another human being.

Definitions courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (


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.

If you do that again there’s no doubt–none at all–that you’re going straight to Hell when you die, which may be pretty soon at the rate you’re going. This isn’t baseball where you get three strikes–this is life, and in life you get one second chance–two strikes and you’re out. 

Rachel Maddow works directly for Satan. She spreads his sulfurous lies on the television. If you let those lies enter your brain, they will take it over and soon you will be disrespecting your parents, become a vegetarian, and get a tattoo.

For the tenth time time, I forbid you to watch Rachel Maddow–or any of CNN for that matter!

God wants you to respect your parents and eat meat–good red meat.

See that blowtorch on the dining room table? It’s there to remind us of the fiery horrors of Hell. See the back of my hand? That’s where my Daddy burned me when I was about your age. Your late grandmother had him put in jail–he was convicted of attempted murder for what he did to my hand. I never understood that, but glory, did it teach me a lesson!

If I was more smart, I would’ve listened to my Daddy. But I was too stupid to listen to his threats. I picked up the TV remote control to tune in “The Rifleman” and the next thing I knew my hand was on fire. Your grandmother called 911 and the police and put the fire out by sticking my hand in a mixing bowl filled with the strawberry jello she was making.

So, obey me and you’ll be all right. Disobey me again,  and I may use the family blowtorch to give you a taste of Hell.

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


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

Everything was was comin’ ‘long just like we said it would. We had a pile ‘a sliced ‘tatoes ready for the frier, a couple ‘a pounds ‘a beef patties, a dozen buns, five cans ‘a baked beans, a case ‘a beer, and just for some needed balance, a pound ‘a cole slaw. Oh–we had a gallon ‘a ketchup too!

At 3.00 pm we’d be sitting ‘long each side of the dining room table enjoying our annual winter barbecue. Dad and Mom will be sitting at the ends ‘a the table–our dignified guests!

We can’t wait!

Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (

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

Alternative facts? There is no such thing. If there’s more than one version of a fact, only one can be right. Or, in the process of establishing a statement as a fact it might be ok to use “alternative” as a part of the process, but in the end, there can only be one version of a fact–that’s what makes it a fact as well as true.

So, developing a narrative on the basis of “alternative facts” that seeks to substitute them for the appropriately established facts in support of conclusions that would otherwise be untenable, is evil. In a way it substitutes opinion for fact–so properly understood alternative facts may rightfully be called opinions masquerading as facts. To call opinions facts is wrong: it gives them an aura of incontestability that they don’t deserve.

Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (


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

I’ve been a vegetarian for the past 10 years. I am tired of drooling over hamburgers, lamb chops, pepperoni, roast beef, liver, kidneys, bacon, ham, steak of all kinds, goat, turkey, chicken, and all the rest of the bleeding protein that I see inhabiting dinner plates everywhere but the vegetarian diner.

I’m tired of feeling like a frustrated rabbit, a groundhog in a field, a cow in a barn, a deer in the woods, a pig in a sty, a sheep on a hillside, a goose on a pond, a rabbit in a hole.

I WANT MEAT: juicy, steaming slabs of animal flesh. Goodbye kale! Hello barbecued ribs! Goodbye Fakin’ Bacon! Hello New York Strip! Goodbye tofu!  Hello Big Mac.

That’s it! I’m changing my life from meatless to meatfull.

See you at the steakhouse.  I hope to be sitting behind a platter of meat!

Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (


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 movies. Are you comin’ along? I want to see the new movie about the zombies that run a used car lot in the desert outside LA. I think it’s goin’ to be a fantas’ film. They specialize in Hyundais. Most people who go there to buy a car never return. That’s what you’d expect! It is WHY they don’t return that you’d never expect.  Well are you comin’? We can take my Hyundai–the one with the blood on th’ back seat. Ha ha! Just kidding!

Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (


Apodioxis (ap-o-di-ox’-is): Rejecting of someone or something (such as the adversary’s argument) as being impertinent, needless, absurd, false, or wicked.

Every time I hear Obama talking about feeding the homeless, or some other social welfare scheme, I want to puke. He says we should do it because it is our “Christian duty.” I don’t know what Christ he’s talking about! Jesus always charged a reasonable fee–in fact–he was so good, such a perfect guy, that he had a sliding scale. Jesus never gave anything away for free. If he had, nobody would’ve respected him and we wouldn’t have institutionalized the sliding scale.  The famous Biblical verse sums it up: “Chargeth them no less than what they can affordeth.” Of course, the sliding scale has prompted virtually all businesspeople to do business solely with the middle- and upper-classes.

It is the will of God.

Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (


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

They say if you grease yourself up with Vaseline, it’s just like having warm clothes on, even though you’re naked. I’ve heard of a few people trying it out & having it work.

I’m going to slather on a couple jars of Vaseline and go out to the mailbox naked and check the mail. It’s -24, so it’ll be a good test of the Vaseline “theory.” I’ve heard about it so many times it’s got to be true. Let’s find out!

20 Minutes Later:

Hello, 911? My husband went outside naked about 20 minutes ago to check the mail. He hasn’t come back yet. I have a leg problem and can’t go outside, or I’d try to find him. Can you come over and check on him? He’s naked and all shiny from Vaseline.

Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (


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 buy another disco ball?

1. No–I’ll have to get an additional ceiling fixture installed.

2. No–Six disco balls throw a lot of sparkle. One more will probably burn a hole in the wall.

3. No–Seven disco balls will probably distract people from listening to the amazing music–especially the Bee Gees and Barry Manilow.

4. No–disco balls are addictive. I get a splitting headache whenever I turn them off.

You know–I’ve got six disco balls already, one more won’t do any serious harm–financially or psychologically. I’m heading to “Disco Nick’s 70s Cornucopia.” He sells white suits, white shoes, and disco balls. I’m going to splurge and get a three-footer. I will put it over my bed so it can sparkle-flash me to sleep every night.

I love disco balls! Let there be light!


Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (