Epicrisis (e-pi-cri’-sis): When a speaker quotes a certain passage and makes comment upon it.

Related figures: anamenesis–calling to memory past matters. More specifically, citing a past author from memory–and chreia (from the Greek chreiodes, “useful”) . . . “a brief reminiscence referring to some person in a pithy form for the purpose of edification.” It takes the form of an anecdote that reports either a saying, an edifying action, or both.

Joseph Campbell tells us: “We must let go of the life we have planned, so as to accept the one that is waiting for us.”

If we take his advice to heart we can finally get rid of life coaches, high school guidance counsellors, tarot card readers, haruspices and everybody else who tries to make the unknowable future knowable by virtue of having a plan!

Ironically though, Campbell’s advice is sort of future-directed, and lays out a plan: a plan not to have a plan. Accordingly, it seems that as far as we’re able to consider the future, we are stuck with planning–even if it’s not to have a plan.

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


Epilogus (e-pi-lo’-gus): Providing an inference of what is likely to follow.

We’ve tried everything. Nothing’s worked. We all know what that means.

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


Epimone (e-pi’-mo-nee): Persistent repetition of the same plea in much the same words.

X: I want a car. Can I please have a car? I’m begging you for a car. I need a car. All my friends have cars. Please, just one little car. I’ll even take a used car. Can’t I have a car?

Y: Some day you will have a car, but not now. You don’t even have a driver’s license yet! After you get a license, we’ll start talking about a car. In the meantime, please, no more asking.

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


Epiplexis (e-pi-plex’-is): Asking questions in order to chide, to express grief, or to inveigh. A kind of rhetorical question [–the speaker does not expect an answer].

What is North Korea up to? Will its threats ever be carried out? Is the Chubby Dictator going to launch a missile attack?

These are questions that we’d like to get definitive answers for, but the Chubby Dictator is a blustering enigmatic idiot.

However, if the past is a predictor of the future, it is most likely the case that North Korea is up to nothing–that the threats will not be carried out and the Chubby Dictator will launch no missiles, but rather, he will continue to launch insults directed toward the US & most likely toward President Trump (whose chain is easily yanked).

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


Epistrophe (e-pis’-tro-fee): Ending a series of lines, phrases, clauses, or sentences with the same word or words.

Your ideas are crazy. Your friends are crazy. You are driving me crazy!

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


Epitasis (e-pit’-a-sis): The addition of a concluding sentence that merely emphasizes what has already been stated. A kind of amplification. [The opposite of anesis.]

Hurricane Irma is the worst! Its destructive force is unparalleled.

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


Epitheton (e-pith’-e-ton): Attributing to a person or thing a quality or description-sometimes by the simple addition of a descriptive adjective; sometimes through a descriptive or metaphorical apposition.  (Note: If the description is given in place of the name, instead of in addition to it, it becomes antonomasia or periphrasis.)

Donald Trump is an adolescent in grownup’s clothing.

Somebody should get President Trump a fidget spinner, a pair of black hi-top Converse sneakers, “Grand Theft Auto V,” and a vape pen.

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


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.

You know better than I do what it means to be unemployed, hungry, homeless. You’ve been there. And now you’re back on your feet. Things are looking better. Life, dare we say it, is looking good.

I think you’re in a position that few people are in. There is a pressing need to help people who’re in the predicament you were once in. You found your way out–not alone, but with the help and influence of others: ‘others’ who were just like you are now: experienced, compassionate, generous.

You would not have come here today if you weren’t interested! All that we ask is that you turn your interest into action.

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


Epizeugma (ep-i-zoog’-ma): Placing the verb that holds together the entire sentence (made up of multiple parts that depend upon that verb) either at the very beginning or the very ending of that sentence.

Looking, seeing, we are ready to begin. We go from the heart, across bridges built of desire, wondering at the distance that must be traversed between beginnings and endings–walking with hope, pushing back despair: at last, crossing and resting under the soft green grass.

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


Epizeuxis: Repetition of the same word, with none between, for vehemence. Synonym for palilogia.

Go! Go! Go!

Not there! What the hell is wrong with you?

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


Erotema (e-ro-tem’-a): The rhetorical question. To affirm or deny a point strongly by asking it as a question. Generally, as Melanchthon has noted, the rhetorical question includes an emotional dimension, expressing wonder, indignation, sarcasm, etc.

What? Are you kidding me? This will be the third night in a row we’ve had some kind of beans for dinner. Do you want me to blow a hole in my bedspread? Come on, why don’t we have something less volatile? How about calve’s liver and cottage cheese?

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


Eucharistia (eu-cha-ris’-ti-a): Giving thanks for a benefit received, sometimes adding one’s inability to repay.

X: Thank you so much for the new lawnmower! There’s no way I can repay you.

Y: If that’s the case I’m taking it back. I was expecting you to mow my lawn once a week without fail.

X: Then, take your damn lawnmower back! What do I look like, your indentured servant?

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


Euche (yoo’-kay): A vow to keep a promise.

ME: I promise to keep my promise to you.

YOU: But what about your promise to keep your promise?

ME: I promise to keep my promise to keep my promise to you.

YOU: But what about your promise to keep your promise to keep your promise to keep your promise?

ME: The hell with it. You’re just going to have to trust me.

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


Eulogia (eu-lo’-gi-a): Pronouncing a blessing for the goodness in a person.

You are one of the most amazing people in the world! Thank-you for everything you have done for me! I didn’t really know what insider trading was until we started doing business together! Bless you forever. 

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



Eustathia (yoos-tay’-thi-a): Promising constancy in purpose and affection.

ME: I will never leave you. I will always be by your side. I will not abandon you. I’m here forever. You can count on me. I’m yours until the end of time. I will never let you down. I’m your knight in . . .

YOU: Wait! Hold on! Stop!

What are you some kind out-of-control cliche machine?

If you want ME to stick around, cool it with the faithfulness BS and act like a normal person.

ME: Your wish is my command.

YOU: This is your last chance: kill the cliches or I’m going home.

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


Eutrepismus (eu-tre-pis’-mus): Numbering and ordering the parts under consideration. A figure of division, and of ordering.

There are three reasons for getting rid of our current Chief Executive:

1. He’s incompetent.

2. He’s hopelessly incompetent.

3. He’s really incompetent.

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


Exergasia (ex-er-ga’-si-a): Repetition of the same idea, changing either its words, its delivery, or the general treatment it is given. A method for amplification, variation, and explanation. As such, exergasia compares to the progymnasmata exercises (rudimentary exercises intended to prepare students of rhetoric for the creation and performance of complete practice orations).

Where are we headed? Up? Down? All around? One night it’s Mr. Teleprompter. Another night it’s Wild Don. Two different ways of making messages, plus two different messages.

Where are we headed? Up? Down? All around? It seems we have a President who is two-faced. His messages in tone and content seem to contradict themselves. Where positions collide, you can’t believe either. If you try to believe both, you’ll go nuts.

The consensus seems to be that Wild Don is the actual Don and that Mr. Teleprompter is fake.

So, where are we headed? Up? Down? All around? I say all of the above as we ride a not so merry merry-go-round into an uncertain and frightening future.

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


Exouthenismos (ex-ou-then-is’-mos): An expression of contempt.

Being near you makes me want to puke. I look at you close-up and think about what you’ve done to my country–the harm is palpable throughout the world. You are not well-respected by other world leaders (they make fun of you). You have shown your tacit support for racism.  You have told huge whoppers, and much, much more. Why don’t you just get in a golf cart and drive into the sunset, pick up a cab, go to the airport, put on a disguise, and fly home to New York City?

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


Expeditio (ex-pe-di’-ti-o): After enumerating all possibilities by which something could have occurred, the speaker eliminates all but one (=apophasis). Although the Ad Herennium author lists expeditio as a figure, it is more properly considered a method of argument [and pattern of organization] (sometimes known as the “Method of Residues” when employed in refutation[, and “Elimination Order” when employed to organize a speech. The reference to ‘method’ hearkens back to the Ramist connection between organizational patterns of discourses and organizational pattern of arguments]).

Why did you vote for Donald Trump?

1. You thought he could get things done?

2. You thought he was going to make life better for you?


3. He is honest and trustworthy?

Three strikes! He has turned out to be none of the above. Just read the papers!

(Oh, that’s right–the truth is fake news.)

Maybe you need to reassess your motives and prepare for the next election! There are actually politicians who exemplify the virtues you are looking for. Look for those politicians! Vote for those politicians. Forget about Trump. He is a big phony.

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


Exuscitatio (ex-us-ci-ta’-ti-o): Stirring others by one’s own vehement feeling (sometimes by means of a rhetorical question, and often for the sake of exciting anger).

Does anybody out there have a brain? Every day we listen to President Trump, or read his Tweets, hoping for something that instills confidence in his leadership. Instead we get words worthy of a dumpster.

Why is this happening? Is it on purpose? Is it some kind of rude trick? I’m sick of it and want it to stop. The big question is: How do we make it stop? I think we need to wait for the next presidential election, unless impeachment’s a possibility (which it isn’t).

Anyway, in the meantime we should organize under “Stop the Stupid Trump Talk” and see what kind of difference we might make.

Who’s with me? Ivanka? Jared?

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


Gnome (nome or no’-mee): One of several terms describing short, pithy sayings. Others include adageapothegmmaximparoemiaproverb, and sententia.

Knowlege is power, but it won’t run a table saw.

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


Graecismus (gree-kis’-mus): Using Greek words, examples, or grammatical structures. Sometimes considered an affectation of erudition.

My enthymemes tend toward the topos of antitheses. I believe the dissoi logoi rightfully capture the episteme of rhetorical decision making.  That is, if there is only one side able to be considered, a decision cannot be made, although adherence to the ‘one side’ will enable movement toward the future and provide the illusion of krisis.

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


Hendiadys (hen-di’-a-dis): Expressing a single idea by two nouns [joined by a conjunction] instead of a noun and its qualifier. A method of amplification that adds force.

I’m lonely and mad. I wish I could have a bunch of friends and pals. I guess I need to deal with my anger before I will have a bunch of friends and pals–or maybe having a bunch of friends and pals would make my anger go away–damn and double-damn: I’m stuck and frustrated!

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


Heterogenium (he’-ter-o-gen-i-um): Avoiding an issue by changing the subject to something different. Sometimes considered a vice.

News Reporter: Some people believe that having Steve Bannon on your staff is a sign of your tacit support for his his “alt-right” politics which have been characterized as a sort of white-supremacist nationalism. Given that, and recent events in Virginia, are you considering terminating him?

Donald: I have a “right” (he ha) to appoint–where would I be if every appointment in my administration had to be vetted and approved? I’d be alone up here and the government would come to a standstill!

Now, somebody ask me a question really worth answering.

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


Hyperbaton (hy-per’-ba-ton): 1. An inversion of normal word order. A generic term for a variety of figures involving transposition, it is sometimes synonymous with anastrophe. 2. Adding a word or thought to a sentence that is already semantically complete, thus drawing emphasis to the addition.

Time’s prisoners we are.

Time is a wicked spirit disfiguring transcendence–the soul of truth. Time keeps us from experiencing the tranquility of permanence and the sublimity of the void.

What good is time beyond measuring its progress toward its end?

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