Aporia (a-po’-ri-a): Deliberating with oneself as though in doubt over some matter; asking oneself (or rhetorically asking one’s hearers) what is the best or appropriate way to approach something [=diaporesis].

I keep asking myself: “What should you do?” This Korean dictator has really made me angry–especially the comments about being old and fat. How can I respond to what he says? If I keep my mouth shut, I’ll look like a wimp, but if I say anything to him it seems to just bounce off–this guy’s impervious to verbal abuse. I can’t invade North Korea–what a mess, and very costly. So, what’s left? Try to make peace? Again, I’ll look like a wimp if I try to butter him up.  I need to maintain my tough guy persona–my base loves it and it looks great in the mirror in my bathroom. Hmmmm? So–oh–why didn’t I think of it before? Nuke him and his poverty stricken, disease ridden little dictatorship–nuke them out of existence. That’s the answer, right? Nuke him! That nation-dump will be incinerated in a minute.

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


Aposiopesis (a-pos-i-o-pee’-sis): Breaking off suddenly in the middle of speaking, usually to portray being overcome with emotion.

Person: You . . .  You’re President Trump! I can’t believe I’ve met you here . . . right here at Bear Bottoms! Best pole dancing club in Utah. Can I buy you a drink?

Him: No. Hmmm, uh, I thought this was a national monument–I’m looking for Bears Ears, not bottoms. I must’ve taken a wrong turn back there in Salt Lake City somewhere.

Person: But this is clearly a bar–and a sleazy one at that!  How could you possibly mistake it for a pair of mesas out in the middle of nowhere?

Him: Security! Take this guy for a walk.

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


Apostrophe (a-pos’-tro-phe): Turning one’s speech from one audience to another. Most often, apostrophe occurs when one addresses oneself to an abstraction, to an inanimate object, or to the absent.

There was a time when we had faith in you cruel Democracy!

We were naive to think that our will would prevail in a world soaked with stupidity, malice, prejudice and fear: Stupidity, Malice, Prejudice and Fear–you are the death knell of democracy’s hope. As you circle freedom’s skies tolling loudly, drowning out the sounds of love, optimism, charity and peace people look up to you, able only to hear your rumbling spite-filled proclamations.

When the peoples’ will is rotten, where do we turn to save democracy’s soul? We turn to you Democracy! To persuasion. To truth. To the light of day and the bright guiding stars of night.

Together, we shall close the abyss and pave the way toward better days: days that celebrate our faith in “we the people” and the mysterious bonds of friendship and trust that can bind us together without without tying us down: that can fulfill our need for autonomy and connectedness: my need for me and our need for us.

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


Apothegm (a’-po-th-e-gem): One of several terms describing short, pithy sayings. Others include adage, gnomemaximparoemiaproverb, and sententia.

If it’s illegal, or you don’t have the time or energy, but you just don’t want to completely quit, remember the old saying, “If you can’t beat ’em, slap ’em around a little bit.” A few well-placed little owies can prove a point with just about anybody!

Whatever you do, don’t follow this advice: “If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em.” Many a bleeding-heart reformist went down this road, and where did they end up? Ask Patricia Hearst. Benedict Arnold? Guy Fawkes? Wang Jingwei?

Take my advice and you won’t become a traitor, or more important, you won’t turn against yourself.

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


Appositio (ap-po-sit’-i-o): Addition of an adjacent, coordinate, explanatory or descriptive element.

What’s going to happen next in national politics as we trudge into 2018. That is, there is so much up in the air with legal problems that it can’t be juggled or shot down! Most of it circles around pre-election Russian involvement with the White House–AKA President Trump and his Administration and their attempt to work with Russia to influence the election in President Trump’s favor.

I am looking forward to all of it being decided so it no longer provides the context for interpreting the motive of nearly everything the President does.

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


Ara (a’-ra): Cursing or expressing detest towards a person or thing for the evils they bring, or for inherent evil.

Donald Trump: Satan’s minion. Damn everything that you have done and damn you too! There is not one measure you’ve enacted or piece of legislation you have supported that resonates with your supposed Christian values. For example, which Christian value does taking Medicaid benefits away from children adhere to? Faith? Hope? Charity? Loving your neighbor? Loving God with all your heart?

As Chief Counsel Joseph Welch said to Senator Joe McCarthy: “Have you no sense of decency?”

Look in the mirror: you are going to hell Mr. Sinner-in-Chief. You have no sense of decency.

Repent and change your sinful ways before it is too late! Get down on your knees and beg for your Lord and Savior Jesus Christ to enter your heart and fill it with love, and cleanse your soul of its wickedness, greed, and vanity. For the sake of your family. For the sake of the USA. For the sake of the world. Repent!

Jesus will hear your prayer of salvation. Say it!

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


Articulus (ar-tic’-u-lus): Roughly equivalent to “phrase” in English, except that the emphasis is on joining several phrases (or words) successively without any conjunctions (in which case articulus is simply synonymous with the Greek term asyndeton). See also brachylogia.

Articulus is also best understood in terms of differing speeds of style that depend upon the length of the elements of a sentence. The Ad Herennium author contrasts the the slower speed of concatenated membra (see membrum) to the quicker speed possible via articulus.

The Trumps!

Ivanka. Donald. Donald Jr. Melania. Tiffany. Barron. Eric.

The Trumps!

Ivanka is lovely and greedy.

Donald is lost.

Donald Jr. needs a few more visits to the orthodontist.

Melania wants a divorce.

Tiffany is a mystery.

Barron looks tired and malnourished.

Eric is terminally clueless.

The Trumps!

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


Aschematiston: The use of plain, unadorned or unornamented language. Or, the unskilled use of figurative language. A vice. [Outside of any particular context of use or sense of its motive, it may be difficult to determine what’s “plain, unadorned or unornamented language.” The same is true of the “unskilled use of figurative language.”]

1. Today is Wednesday. Tomorrow is Thursday. Then comes Friday. Friday is payday. Starting at 5.00pm, it is the best day of the week. It’s when the Senators and Representatives take off their shirts and hang around the mall.

2. The sky is clouded with big clouds, like floating Brillo pads hovering over bedsheets of snow. Winter has arrived and I am headed to the air-conditioned wonderland brimming with swimming pool hopes and coconut pies. It’s like watching a puppy wag its tail. Mexico, here I come!

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


Asphalia (as-fay’-li-a): Offering oneself as a guarantee, usually for another.

To Whom It May Concern:

I can vouch for my nephew Sid. On the surface he looks like a dishonest, violent, reprobate. Those things that he’s done are completely out of character! I know Sid and he would have a good reason for “beating up” his girlfriend–we don’t have to know anything more than what he’s told us and one thing’s for sure Sid’s not a liar.  He’s pretty small and self-defense seems like a reasonable motive–somehow the little guy won the round this time. He must’ve figured out some winning boxing moves.

In short, Sid is a good boy.

As you probably know, I am writing this from my cell at Ossining. So, you know I have nothing to gain by lying, as I have been completely reformed and helping my nephew out of a scrape will never count toward my parole.

If I’m wrong about Sid, add another 10 years to my sentence! I (a beacon of good behavior) stand behind Sid 1,000 percent. Trust me! I wouldn’t con you!

Yours truly,


Ponzi McDough

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


Assonance (ass’-o-nance): Repetition of similar vowel sounds, preceded and followed by different consonants, in the stressed syllables of adjacent words.

You’ve heard it before: “The truth will set you free.” It’ll get you more than you can see. For the truth itself goes unseen, except perhaps when a word like “justice” is printed on a page. It doesn’t take a sage to know that truth’s ‘exemplars’ can cause rage as the accounts of exemplars are conflicted and must be argued out: but even then, the anger may rise higher and higher like like a fire until the conflicted accounts burn themselves out, consume their proponents in disagreement’s flames, burst forth in sparks of persuasion as one party’s mind changes, or gently warm the arguers with the glow of  humanity and acceptance of their mutual fallibility.

The truth will set you free when you embrace your imperfection.

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


Assumptio (as-sump’-ti’o): The introduction of a point to be considered, especially an extraneous argument. See proslepsis (When paralipsis [stating and drawing attention to something in the very act of pretending to pass it over] is taken to its extreme. The speaker provides full details.).

I’m not going to talk about the Department of State–what’s left of it. A bunch of positions haven’t been filled and diplomats are being fired right and left. The hallways are empty. Might as well turn off the power and shut the place down.

This brings up the question: How are government agencies staffed? What kind of rationales (if any) need to be developed to grow or shrink them? How is an agency’s mission factored into its staffing, or elimination altogether? What are the puts and takes connected to staffing and restaffing?

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


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.

Paul R.: I would never collude with the Russians!

Adam S.: You better hope you’re right or you’ll never get out of prison.

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


Astrothesia (as-tro-the’-si-a): A vivid description of stars. One type of enargia.

To be outside and to look up on a cold clear November night is to see a sky filled with twinkling stars. They will take your breath away if you let them: especially if you look at the Milky Way–a carpet of fiery points pointing everywhere, close together, seeming like lighted milk spilled across the sky.

Stars. There, every clear night. An inexhaustible source of wonder, faith, and joy.

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



Asyndeton (a-syn’-de-ton): The omission of conjunctions between clauses, often resulting in a hurried rhythm or vehement effect. [Compare brachylogia. Opposite of polysyndeton.]

Hope. Fear. Love. Hate. Life. Death. Now. Never. We are morally, intellectually, experientially buffeted by opposites all of our lives. Without knowing or caring we rarely hit the extremes. Rather, we just hum along until we are jolted by life’s unpredictable exigences & it may be the unpredictability that vexes us the most. It tears at our agency and leaves us to choose how to understand what we can’t control–to face a terrible omen that is void of intrinsic meaning and bereft of any guiding indices: that may be interpreted, but never known.

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


Auxesis (ok-see’-sis): (1) Arranging words or clauses in a sequence of increasing force. In this sense, auxesis is comparable to climax and has sometimes been called incrementum.  (2) A figure of speech in which something is referred to in terms disproportionately large (a kind of exaggeration or hyperbole). (3) Amplification in general.

(1.) Work, earn, save, retire, die. Each one of these words is filled with so much meaning a book could be written about them. Words are like that: they are spacious.

(2.) The humble ant is a mighty powerhouse of strength, a shining exemplar of courage, and a perfectly meshed team player. However, all you need to do step on the little insect, and that’s the end of that.

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



Bdelygmia (del-ig’-mi-a): Expressing hatred and abhorrence of a person, word, or deed.

Everything about you is either disgusting or laughable. Your hair looks like frozen yellow tinsel (probably stolen from the Dollar Store) tacked to your head with duct tape or staples.

You have told so many lies that most people have stopped taking you seriously or listening to you at all. Maybe that’s why you like Big Whoppers so much: they’re named after your favorite way of speaking. 

It is impossible to imagine where this raft of flotsam called the ‘administration’ is headed. Maybe it’ll go missing in the Bermuda Triangle or run aground in the Bering Strait–somewhere near Провиде́ния (Provideniya).

Anyway, I just wish you’d resign.

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


Bomphiologia (bom-phi-o-lo’-gi-a): Exaggeration done in a self-aggrandizing manner, as a braggart.

Good evening.

A brief update on how I am making America great again!

I’ve made a lot of work for attorneys at the FBI–that’s great for the economy! I’ve scared the crap out of the American people–all worried about being blown up by some crazy North Korean dictator! That’s good for the pharmaceutical industry–all those tranquilizers being sold! It’s good for the psychology business too! Everybody’s trying to figure out how to manage their fear and they are using an unprecedented number of professional counselors! Sales of gin and vodka are up 300% as people try to numb their senses and calm their nerves the old fashioned way!

Those are just a few of my fantastic and definitely positive accomplishments–the actual list of accomplishments stretches from here to Russia (via the internet).  That’s pretty far and it is awesomely beautiful like my wife, my money, and my hair.

A big thumbs up to me! Almost singlehandedly, I’m making America great again!

In summary, stay tuned tomorrow for my unbelievably amazing plan for citizens 70 & over! Attention! No more waiting around for health care all you disgruntled seniors!

In conclusion, thank-you and God bless everything, with the exception of illegal immigrants, Democrats, and John McCain.

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


Brachylogia (brach-y-lo’-gi-a): The absence of conjunctions between single words. Compare asyndeton. The effect of brachylogia is a broken, hurried delivery.

Last year. Last month. Last week. Yesterday. This morning. This afternoon. This evening. Right now! I couldn’t stop wanting to go to Yankee Candle to buy some exotic scented candle to literally spice up what goes on around here when we’re alone together on a lonely country road in the front seat of my truck.

Those little pine tree hanger things really didn’t do the job and I was ready for a change.

So, look at my scented candle truck cab burner invention!

My only concern at this point is catching the truck’s cab on fire. That’s why I’ve made this tin-foil doohickey that looks like a little silver tent! If I’m right, and this works, I’ll make millions of dollars. I’ve named it the “Front Seat Fire Starter” after the passion it will arouse when lit!

Here, let’s fire up the prototype and see if we can set the front seat on fire!

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


Cacozelia (ka-ko-zeel’-i-a): 1. A stylistic affectation of diction, such as throwing in foreign words to appear learned.  2. Bad taste in words or selection of metaphor, either to make the facts appear worse or to disgust the auditors.

I want to utilize the denouement of our affair to plumb the rationale of my wretched calumny and reconnoiter the restorative expurgation of my love-riven bowel.

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


Catachresis (kat-a-kree’-sis): The use of a word in a context that differs from its proper application. This figure is generally considered a vice; however, Quintilian defends its use as a way by which one adapts existing terms to applications where a proper term does not exist.

I am spellbound with gratitude.

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


Catacosmesis (kat-a-kos-mees’-is): Ordering words from greatest to least in dignity, or in correct order of time.

It was dark. Soon it would be daylight and we would resume our trip, but first we’d eat breakfast, have some coffee and get dressed. Today, like yesterday, was going to be hot. I would wear shorts and a t-shirt and so would my wife. Our camper van didn’t have A/C. So, by the time it hit 9.00am it was uninhabitable. We had to drive the van until night’s coolness and find a place to pull over and rest.

This ‘trip’ has been ongoing ever since I robbed a gas station outside of Palmdale. We had probably traveled nearly 1,000 miles–every day the same: get up at sun up, drive all day, stop after dark. We didn’t know where we were going, and it was almost certain we would be caught by local police or highway patrol. We didn’t care. We had a pile of handguns between us on the seat.

I started calling myself Clyde two days ago and Barbara followed suit with Bonnie last night.

I don’t know why we want to die, but I do know we want to do it together.

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


Cataphasis (kat-af’-a-sis): A kind of paralipsis in which one explicitly affirms the negative qualities that one then passes over.

They say he likes children. We think his idea of ‘liking’ is not appropriate, especially when it involves taking his pants off in front of a 14-year-old girl.  But instead of talking about the deviance that happened many many years ago, let’s talk about today’s deviance–it isn’t sexual, it’s political. . . .

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


Cataplexis (kat-a-pleex’-is): Threatening or prophesying payback for ill doing.

You have hurt me badly. You have dragged me through the dirt. You ruined my life. You are rotten. You are evil. You make me sick.

If you think you’re going to get away with this, you are crazy. Watch your back. Don’t let your guard down. The clock is ticking and the alarm will go off when you least expect it: the bell will toll for thee.

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


Charientismus (kar-i-en-tia’-mus): Mollifying harsh words by answering them with a smooth and appeasing mock.

You keep calling me an idiot. I guess I am an idiot for hanging out with you! I’m too smart for this crap.

I think it’s time for you think about who the real idiot is.

Can I call you an idiot?

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


Chiasmus (ki-az’-mus): 1. Repetition of ideas in inverted order.  2. Repetition of grammatical structures in inverted order (not to be mistaken with antimetabole, in which identical words are repeated and inverted).

I am going to the mall! To the shopping center I’m headed! I’ve warmed up my credit card so it’ll slide right into the chip reader and make that alarming honking sound signaling that I’ve paid for some shoes or candy, a toilet bowl plunger or a bracelet made of fake gold! Just sign on the screen and everything’s mine.

Oh yeah!

Hi ho! Hi ho! It’s off to the mall I go! Bagging and bragging. Bragging and bagging! Pants: $150.00. Jacket: $445.00. Boots: $245.00. Socks: $60.00. Cashmere sweater: $420.00. Sunglasses: $155.00. Cologne: $85.00. Cookware: $1,120.00. Briefcase: $220.00. Laptop: $995.00. Blender: $95.00. Tent: $180.00. Heated toilet seat: $550.00. Staples: $3.20. Hat: $35.00.


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