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].


It’s raining, you better take an umbrella. You have a red one to match your cloak. Grandma will he happy to see you, especially since you’re packing a half-pound of primo weed in your basket along with six packages of maple sugar candy, two copies of The New Yorker, and a bottle of Bombay gin.

Now, there’s rumors that there’s a “big bad wolf” lurking around Grandma’s. I think it’s your Uncle Harvey wearing a wolf suit to scare people away. After all, Grandma’s hut is pretty isolated and there’s no locks on the doors. Having Uncle Harvey stand guard is a pretty good idea, and dressing in a wolf suit lends him some authority. Anyway, there hasn’t been a real wolf sighted around here for ten years. There isn’t going to be one sighted now. Also, even if he’s really still around, he hasn’t attacked anybody, so you can bet he’s not going to start now. “Big Bad” is the wrong first name for that wolf.


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

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