Category Archives: Uncategorized

Symploce

Symploce (sim’-plo-see or sim’-plo-kee): The combination of anaphora and epistrophe: beginning a series of lines, clauses, or sentences with the same word or phrase while simultaneously repeating a different word or phrase at the end of each element in this series.

I am not too old to run this race.

I am not too moderate to win this race.

I am not going to lose this race.

I am going to be your next President

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

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Synaloepha

Synaloepha (sin-a-lif’-a): Omitting one of two vowels which occur together at the end of one word and the beginning of another. A contraction of neighboring syllables. A kind of metaplasm.

All we need is Greenland. The USA has money to burn/not waste time considering consequences. After all, did George Washington consider the consequences. Did Abraham Lincoln? What about Jesse James and Al Capone? No! They just rushed headlong into the future. I’m like them. Lucky as hell. Look at all the lawsuits I’ve evaded, and the ditzy wives I’ve dumped. You should be calling me Donald Washington or Abraham Trump. Onward to Greenland. Is it actually green?

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

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Synathroesmus

Synathroesmus (sin-ath-res’-mus): 1. The conglomeration of many words and expressions either with similar meaning (= synonymia) or not (= congeries).  2. A gathering together of things scattered throughout a speech (= accumulatio [:Bringing together various points made throughout a speech and presenting them again in a forceful, climactic way. A blend of summary and climax.])

I am alone, solo, unitary, solitary. My shadow casts but one figure–a lonely stick shading the floor. I am I and that’s it. The door is open and she is gone. I am baffled, a little happy, a little sad, angry, but filled with hope that she’ll be back. But my hope is ill-founded. I am kidding myself, but I’m not laughing.

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

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Synechdoche

Synecdoche (si-nek’-do-kee): A whole is represented by naming one of its parts (or genus named for species), or vice versa (or species named for genus).

They weren’t just anybody’s dreams. They were enchantments getting us to see what we couldn’t see. It’s in dreams that possible better futures emerge from visions, from pens and songs and the eyes of the world watching freedom’s drama unfold–at the edges of hell, in the aisles of cathedrals. on the streets, in school yards, at lunch counters, in buses. Set upon at night by White Robes emboldened by the Law’s silence, killing hopeful young men–point blank cowards blowing holes in innocent chests, triggering murder, skulking back into the bushes and driving away, feeling they had done their duty, feeling the justice of their murders in the sticky blood on their hands and the hatred in their hearts.

But, at the time, love triumphed over savagery. Real justice was afforded its place. People went to prison. Legislation was passed. Children went to school.

Thank-you Martin Luther King Jr.

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

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Synonymia

Synonymia (si-no-ni’-mi-a): In general, the use of several synonyms together to amplify or explain a given subject or term. A kind of repetition that adds emotional force or intellectual clarity. Synonymia often occurs in parallel fashion. The Latin synonym, interpretatio, suggests the expository and rational nature of this figure, while another Greek synonym, congeries, suggests the emotive possibilities of this figure.

I am tired, burned out, worn out. These hours we’ve been keeping are pulling me apart. Day is night, night is day; working, laboring, and nearly groveling to a clock: A clock made to measure time, but the time we put in isn’t being measured.

I want to quit, resign, hand in my notice, take a hike, but then I’ll become homeless, hungry, and lost to the world. Damn.

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

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Synthesis

Synthesis (sin’-the-sis): An apt arrangement of a composition, especially regarding the sounds of adjoining syllables and words.

We had a way with waves, riding on the surly sea like answers to questions or words wrought to rhyme.

The ocean overlaps the sand and we slide onto the beach, each one of grateful for the ride. Now its time to light a fire, feel the warmth, have a swig of wine and passionately wish this time won’t end.

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

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Syntheton

Syntheton (sin’-the-ton): When by convention two words are joined by a conjunction for emphasis.

Life and death

Hope and fear

Winning and losing

Words have their opposites creating trajectories from one to the other, from the other to the other in dialectical repetitions, in circles unbroken by time, in bent lines.

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

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Synzeugma

Synzeugma (sin-zoog’-ma): That kind of zeugma in which a verb joins (and governs) two phrases by coming between them. A synonym for mesozeugma.

The time, ticking mercilessly, on its faithless arc destroys the present with its inevitable day- and night-making progress. So, the future casts a dim glow, making shadows of our lives stretching into our past like an expanding and contracting yardstick. Constantly altering our memory, reconciling and exacerbating the conflicts that measure arouses.

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

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Systrophe

Systrophe (si’-stro-fee): The listing of many qualities or descriptions of someone or something, without providing an explicit definition.

He had tiny hands. They looked like chicken feet sticking out of his shirtsleeves. His lips were almost always puckered–not like he had eaten something bitter, but rather, as if he were sucking a straw and couldn’t get anything to come through it. It was like he looked mad, frustrated and thirsty all at once; maybe like a baby whose ba-ba nipple was malfunctioning. Post-pucker, he would throw his little chicken-feet hands around in no discernible gesture–maybe flailing, definitely not waving. His blond hair was stiffly coifed around his head like an amusement park ride called “Shellac Mountain” with hidden tunnels bypassing his bald flesh and buttressed against the wind’s revelation of the cosmetic circus playing beneath the surface of his hair.

This man wants us to believe he is worth a shit. Some people swear by him like he is Jesus Christ. Many of us just piss our pants or vomit dreading his continued presence in our lives. But some of us are immune to his idiocy having been inoculated with facts and learned opinions. We are biding our time. There will be a judgment day and it isn’t spelled Armageddon.

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

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Tapinosis

Tapinosis  (ta-pi-no’-sis): Giving a name to something which diminishes it in importance.

So, you’re still a fan of the New York Tinies? They used to be giants, now they’re ants. Give it up. 

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

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Tasis

Tasis (ta’-sis): Sustaining the pronunciation of a word or phrase because of its pleasant sound. A figure apparent in delivery.

We are soooo happy that Trump will be impeached! It will be like a weight off of everybody’s shoulders, except for Cohen, Manafort and the parade of other low life scum bags that are tangled up in his nefarious lifestyle.

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

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Thaumasmus

Thaumasmus (thau-mas’-mus): To marvel at something rather than to state it in a matter of fact way.

I wake up in the morning with a pain in my head.The clock radio is droning the news. It seems like the same stories over and over again, day after day; with the exception of natural disasters and less troubling weather forces.

The stories reflect the best and the worst–the middle is missing. At each extreme we are terrified and humbled, sickened and uplifted, flattened and edified. It is like a spinning top where the extremes blend into a blur, and the blur, as long as the top is spinning, is a fact erasing tensions, obscuring their otherness in a kind of soft dizziness that consciousness fails to capture. Staggering is the norm and holding onto the railing is what gives life its sense of stability.

I am amazed and sickened by the wonder of it all.

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

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Tmesis

Tmesis (tmee’-sis): Interjecting a word or phrase between parts of a compound word or between syllables of a word.

We sit idly by while Trump destroys much of what was built in the past 50 years–from civil rights to climates change policies, Trump has co-poppin-opted truth, justice and freedom, replacing them with a steady steam of lies, a disgusting Supreme Court justice and restrictions on the freedom of speech in his own White House.

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

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Topographia

Topographia (top-o-graf’-i-a): Description of a place. A kind of enargia [: {en-ar’-gi-a} generic name for a group of figures aiming at vivid, lively description].

We lived on the edge–the edge of life, the edge of time. I took solace in the small red feathers that were left to me by my insane father before he jumped in front of a red Jeep Cheorkee and exploded into fragments of red flesh. The irony was in the color: red. Red feathers floating gently on a summer’s breeze; a red bubbly puddle glistening and barely steaming on the black asphalt, my tearful eye mirrored in its ooze.

Blood and feathers compliment each other, up and down. Feathers borne upward on a breeze. Blood dripping toward earth as a display of gravity’s power to bring us, and everything else down.

Sadly, the shared color red is an accident whose meaning is solely in the color shared.

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

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Traductio

Traductio (tra-duk’-ti-o): Repeating the same word variously throughout a sentence or thought. Some authorities restrict traductio further to mean repeating the same word but with a different meaning (see ploceantanaclasis, and diaphora), or in a different form (polyptoton). If the repeated word occurs in parallel fashion at the beginnings of phrases or clauses, it becomes anaphora; at the endings of phrases or clauses, epistrophe.

He alienated our allies. Stupid! He plays kiss-ass with Putin. Stupid! He put kids in cages. Stupid and cruel.

There’s no doubt that Donald Trump is stupid and cruel. Three more years of his stupidity and cruelty and the United States will become a stupid and cruel place to live. Maybe it already is!

When will the US start producing a wave a refugees who want to escape? Probably when Trump gets reelected by an army of Russian trolls and their Republican allies. He did it once. He can do it again.

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

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Topographia

Topographia (top-o-graf’-i-a): Description of a place. A kind of enargia [: {en-ar’-gi-a} generic name for a group of figures aiming at vivid, lively description].

A tattered carpet with images of Russian helicopters spraying bullets on small crumbling villages. Young girls with shiny black eyes and jingling coins draped from green and red and purple and blue dresses, and boys in baggy pants, white tunics and every color vests. It’s not suburban New Jersey (although it could be). It’s somewhere in Afghanistan where war has been raging for as long as I can remember and it is a miracle that anybody is still left alive.

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

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Tasis

Tasis (ta’-sis): Sustaining the pronunciation of a word or phrase because of its pleasant sound. A figure apparent in delivery.

“Wow. It’s perrrfect! My own personal private Supreme Court! Our goal is the repeal of evvvvveryyything back to pre-Civil War–back when America was great. Bye bye abortion. Hello Jim Crow. It’s beautiful.”

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

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Thaumasmus

Thaumasmus (thau-mas’-mus): To marvel at something rather than to state it in a matter of fact way.

American history of rough. There was the American Revolution. There was the wanton murder of Native Americans. There was the depravity of slavery. There was the Great Depression. There was Word war II and Third Reich.

Now there is Donald Trump: The cosmic blight. The maker of massive shit stains. The stinking wave of blood-flecked vomit. The end of democracy.

It’s only a matter of time before Trump’s supporters will have the opportunity to yell “Guillotine, Guillotine, Guillotine” as Hilary Clinton is marched down Wall Street.

All that I know right now is that mental illness can have a starring role in politics. Compassion, sanity and honesty are given minor bit parts by the Mad One as he may plot democracy’s demise with Putin, Xi Jinping, the Koch brothers, and the NRA.

The internment camps are open for business.

Beware!

Their purpose may be expanded to accommodate dissenters and other “undesirables.”

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

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Tmesis

Tmesis (tmee’-sis): Interjecting a word or phrase between parts of a compound word or between syllables of a word.

Last week I was in North Ko-wonderful-rea meeting with another humble dictator. I’m a better dictator than he is because I don’t starve people or execute them with Anti-aircraft guns. Instead, I tell lie, after lie, after lie. By murdering the truth, it works as well as murdering people. Once the truth is dead, you can bury it or cremate it and forget about it. Then, you replace the dead truths with vibrant living lies designed to scare, outrage and justify bullying the weak!

Look at Texas. Perfect example. Children “taken” from their families. I blame the Democrats over and over again. It’s a lie (it’s actually my policy). I have my cake (jailed children) and eat it too (blame Democrats). Ha ha! Am I evil? Yes, of course! I’m taking America to hell.

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

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Topographia

Topographia (top-o-graf’-i-a): Description of a place. A kind of enargia [: {en-ar’-gi-a} generic name for a group of figures aiming at vivid, lively description].

Red velour towels. Purple velvet bedspread. Dark blue carpet (wool) with big orange flowers, flying lips and circling cupids with little bows and arrows pointed outward toward the walls.

This was my getaway–my secret paradise hidden on the back side of an elevator shaft, accessible by my little fingerprints or by my guest yelling “let me out of here” when the elevator reached the secret floor.

Tonight was my ‘encounter’ with Stony–a tall, blond, well-built porn star with long blond hair–the kind you see in shampoo ads–beautiful beyond your imagination.

I heard her yelling “let me out of here” and I flipped the tiny black switch. As the elevator doors opened, I opened my red cashmere bathrobe. She stood there looking at me like I was some kind of circus freak.

“Wow! It’s even smaller than your hands would indicate, and they indicate a micro-penis.”

I was humiliated and closed my robe. I picked up the green glass champagne bottle from the chrome and glass end table and hit her over the head. It made a thudding sound and she made a thudding sound when she hit the floor.

She was dead. I was screwed. I thought, “If I were President of the United States, I could pardon myself. But I’m not, and I can’t. Damn.”

So, my Plan B was to escape. I would hide out in a third-rate nursing home disguised as David Dump, half demented cranky old man. Once things cooled off, I would buy a camper van and drive to Venezuela and get a job as a mid-level dictator. “Plenty of prostitutes there,” I thought as I washed my hands, smiled,  and prepared to call a cab.

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

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Traductio

Traductio (tra-duk’-ti-o): Repeating the same word variously throughout a sentence or thought. Some authorities restrict traductio further to mean repeating the same word but with a different meaning (see ploceantanaclasis, and diaphora), or in a different form (polyptoton). If the repeated word occurs in parallel fashion at the beginnings of phrases or clauses, it becomes anaphora; at the endings of phrases or clauses, epistrophe.

We have a lunatic for President. Nearly everything he does indicates he’s a lunatic. He accused Canada of burning down the White House during the war of 1812. Lunatic! He takes children from their parents. Lunatic! He claims he can pardon himself. Lunatic! He started a trade war. Lunatic!

Trump is a lunatic.

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

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Tricolon

Tricolon (tri-co-lon): Three parallel elements of the same length occurring together in a series.

The tree had fallen. My house was crushed. My insurance had lapsed.

Now, what would I do?

I packed what I could in my truck. I backed out of the driveway without looking. I got hit by a bulldozer pushing branches.

No car insurance. No common sense. No Plan B.

Damn. Crap. Hell.

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

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Abating

Abating: English term for anesis: adding a concluding sentence that diminishes the effect of what has been said previously. The opposite of epitasis (the addition of a concluding sentence that merely emphasizes what has already been stated. A kind of amplification).

Your haircut is very stylish. Too bad that the ‘style’ is somewhere between a terrier tonsure and a vulture mullet!

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

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Abbaser

Abbaser [George] Puttenham’s English term for tapinosis. Also equivalent to meiosis: reference to something with a name disproportionately lesser than its nature (a kind of litotes: deliberate understatement, especially when expressing a thought by denying its opposite).

Nice death rock–how many people died from the civil wars your big sparkly stone and others like it have afforded? Or, maybe your fiancé checked its point of origin? Anyway, it signifies your engagement–but possibly your engagement in something far more sinister than you imagined when your future spouse slipped it on your finger.

If there’s no way of telling whether it has blood on it, you should give it back. Otherwise, every time you look at it, you may see murder and mayhem, rape and starvation rather than love and building a beautiful future together.

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

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Abecedarian

Abecedarian (a-be-ce-da’-ri-an): An acrostic whose letters do not spell a word but follow the order (more or less) of the alphabet.

A big cloud descended everywhere, fiendishly generating hexamethylenetetramine onto jurisdictions, kens, locations, municipalities, nooks, oceans, ponds–quickly ruining sausages, tacos, upma, vanilla wafers, yams, zucchinis–all set out on a long table to celebrate Abraham Washington’s birthday.

Soon, everything will go up in flames and the world will end. I wish Pruitt had listened to the real environmentalists’ advice. Instead, he flew first class to the South Pole “where it is too cold for fire.” He’s an idiot. He has killed us all.

However, there may be hope yet! Jeff Sessions says he can “arrest” the fire with a “handful” of dedicated, brave and sober Federal Marshals.

Oh well, he may as well be at the South Pole with Pruitt.

Sad to say, it’s over.

Post your own abecedarian on the “Comments” page!

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

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