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.

There’s nothing like a smug bunch of losers to tell me how turn this business around—my wife, her father, my father—trying to tell me what to do. I’d listen to a licensed clown before I’d listen to them. We’ve been selling fishing lures since the beginning of time. Some say the serpent in the Garden of Eden used a fishing lure, not an apple, to tempt Eve away from God. That’s why we have a lure named “Eve’s Temptation.” But that’s beside the point right now. We need to save the business, save your jobs, and save my daughter’s college tuition payments. I know you have some good ideas for expanding the business, so we can sell more product. I see you nodding your heads. Why don’t you appoint a leader, come up with an expansion plan, and present it to me. I have always listened to your voices, and this is no different.

Fishing drones might be a good idea. Can you imagine pulling a whopper out of the water and flying it back to wherever you are? Let’s see what you can do! It’s in your hands. Don’t let it slip through you fingers and flop around on the floor! I look forward to seeing what you come up with.

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

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