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.
A: Sorry, I’m going to be late again.
B: One more time and you’ll be the late Sammy Fogwell. Ha ha! Just kidding—you work too hard. I’ll keep dinner warm for you.
A: You’re the best! This crazy project will be over in a week.
Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (rhetoric.byu.edu)
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