Tricolon

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

I sat. I read. I slept. When I woke up later in the day I had a stiff neck and drool on the front of my shirt. That’ll teach me to sleep in chairs in libraries in the middle of the day! But those library chairs are so comfortable! I don’t think I can refrain from sitting in them–I just have to stay awake and read. Next time I’ll have some coffee before I go to the library. I hope that will work.

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 paper is very clear. It’s a shame that the position you’ve taken is very wrong. You need to learn how to make an argument. I can help you with that!

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).

Your Mercedes 500 CS is the cost equivalent of a Volkswagen for you–you’re not exactly poor–it probably didn’t even put a dent in your little piggy bank.

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 car! A big cigar! Life is good.

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

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Accismus

Accismus (ak-iz’-mus): A feigned refusal of that which is earnestly desired.

Oh my God! I can’t take this ring from you–it must be worth $5,000! What I did for you is nothing compared to what you did for me! I am so humbled & grateful! Push a little harder & maybe I’ll take it.

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

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Acervatio

Acervatio (ak-er-va’-ti-o): Latin term Quintilian employs for both asyndeton (acervatio dissoluta: a loose heap) and polysyndeton (acervatio iuncta: a conjoined heap).

Asyndeton: the omission of conjunctions between clauses, often resulting in a hurried rhythm or vehement effect.

Walk, run, trot, jog, fly! Time is running out on the avocado sale at the grocery store! Go! Go!

Polysydeton: employing many conjunctions between clauses, often slowing the tempo or rhythm.

I went to the drugstore, and I got my prescription filled, and I saw a friend from high school, and we decided to have a couple of diet cokes, and we talked, and after that I went home and took my medication.

I am boring, and my life is boring, and I’m glad.

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

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Acoloutha

Acoloutha: The substitution of reciprocal words; that is, replacing one word with another whose meaning is close enough to the former that the former could, in its turn, be a substitute for the latter. This term is best understood in relationship to its opposite, anacoloutha.

Today, we are affirming every last bit of what he has done and said. We are still in an accepting mood despite all the disappointments we’ve had these first 100 days. He says it, we approve it. We are the loyal base.

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

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Acrostic

Acrostic: When the first letters of successive lines are arranged either in alphabetical order (= abecedarian) or in such a way as to spell a word.

HAPPY

Have a lot of patience.

Always respect the people you care about.

Provide an open ear.

Practice what you preach.

Yell at the wind, not at your friends.

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

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Adage

Adage (ad’-age): One of several terms describing short, pithy sayings, or traditional expressions of conventional wisdom.

“When the going gets tough, it’s time to go home.” Joe Mellow (From One Cop-Out to the Next: The Virtues of  Broken Promises)

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

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Adianoeta

Adianoeta: An expression that, in addition to an obvious meaning, carries a second, subtle meaning (often at variance with the ostensible meaning).

Isn’t it great that Pres. Trump is intent on shrinking the bordering land around a bunch of national monuments? The monuments  are expressions of natural order–canyons. mountains, cliffs, etc. Pres. Trump proposes to leave the “monuments” alone, while grabbing the land that surrounds them and reclassifying it.

I think the smaller he makes their surroundings the better they will fit the interests their shrinkage supports: pipelines, coal mines, and generally, massive exploitation and harm to the environment surrounding the ensemble of national treasures.

Not a good idea.

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

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Adnominatio

Adnominatio (ad-no-mi-na’-ti-o): 1. A synonym for paronomasia [punning].  2. A synonym for polyptoton.  3. Assigning to a proper name its literal or homophonic meaning.

1. I took my little sailboat out to see how it would handle the open sea.

2. The timer timing the race’s time lost his timer!

3. He used the poker to get away from his wife.

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

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Adynaton

Adynaton (a-dyn’-a-ton): A declaration of impossibility, usually in terms of an exaggerated comparison. Sometimes, the expression of the impossibility of expression.

When I was younger, I thought I had a shot at becoming a millionaire. Now I realize that my hope to be a millionaire had as much of a chance of being realized as a brick has of reciting the alphabet.

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

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Aetiologia

Aetiologia (ae-ti-o-log’-i-a): A figure of reasoning by which one attributes a cause for a statement or claim made, often as a simple relative clause of explanation.

I want to go to the movies today because it’s raining, there’s nothing else to do, and I have a coupon for two tickets! Besides, your mother’s driving me crazy. Let’s get out of here while she’s taking a shower. Come on, let’s go!

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

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Affirmatio

Affirmatio (af’-fir-ma’-ti-o): A general figure of emphasis that describes when one states something as though it had been in dispute or in answer to a question, though it has not been.

They believe in things that nobody should believe in. They deny climate change. They reject evolution. They believe science is a hoax.

What are these people trying to do to our lives? Sure, they pretty much keep to themselves–but mark my words, some day they will come after us. We must be prepared.

I think my little booklet entitled “Preparing for Them” is just what the doctor ordered to keep us on track when they try to persuade us!  The booklet’s only $1.00 & I just happen to have some right here in my briefcase. You never know when they’re going to come out of the woodwork.

Be prepared for the onslaught!

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

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Aganactesis

Aganactesis (ag’-an-ak-tee’-sis): An exclamation proceeding from deep indignation.

You ate my yogurt again.

What gives you the right to eat somebody else’s food?

What are you, some kind of hunter-gatherer? This is a house, not the woods. If you want to hunt and gather, go outside.

Whatever you do: Do not touch my yogurt ever again. Stop being so inconsiderate! Buy your own damn yogurt!

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

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Allegory

Allegory (al’-le-go-ry): A sustained metaphor continued through whole sentences or even through a whole discourse.

The Most Important Man in the World

There was an elderly Emperor who lived in a big white house in the capital of the States United of America! He was the Most Important Man in the World (M.I.M.I.T.W). He was in charge of everything in the world (at least he thought he was). All he needed to do was sit at his desk in the big white house and sign orders abolishing everything the former tenant had decreed–from environmental policies to foreign policies.

M.I.M.I.T.W’s signature constituted God-like mandates: commandments from on high. Many of them began with the sacred words “Thou shalt not . . .” For example, “Thou shalt not spend tax dollars on climate change research . . .”

That’s power!

On the weekends M.I.M.I.T.W would put down his pen, get out of his chair, and fly to his beach chateau Margo del Beacho. Most recently,  when he was there, he ate a “beautiful” chocolate cake and told the Navy to fire missiles and the Air Force to drop HUGE bombs. He loved eating “beautiful” chocolate cake, dining with other big shots, and blowing things up! He said it kept him young.

M.I.M.I.T.W also loved to threaten entire countries, if they seemed to be misbehaving. In addition, he was also quite happy that each weekend trip to his beach chateau only cost $3,000,000.  In his view, that was a small price to pay to eat “beautiful” chocolate cake, play golf, hang out with other big shots, and blow stuff up via phone calls.

Most important though, he loved to go tweet-tweet late at night–making brief birdie songs on the Internet with crazy lyrics! The craziest one I heard was “I was wire tapped.” It had a sort of blues kick to it that was more than it deserved.

Sadly, it all came to an end when M.I.M.I.T.W choked on a piece of “beautiful” chocolate cake during a weekend visit to Margo del Beacho.  Mr. Heimlich was off for the weekend and couldn’t help out.

We are so sorry.

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

Alleotheta

Alleotheta (al-le-o-the’-ta): Substitution of one case, gender, mood, number, tense, or person for another. Synonymous with enallage. [Some rhetoricians claim that alleotheta is a] general category that includes antiptosis [(a type of enallage in which one grammatical case is substituted for another)] and all forms of enallage [(the substitution of grammatically different but semantically equivalent constructions)].

We was looking for the dead end at the end of the dead end street–the street marked with a yellow diamond-shape sign that said “Dead End.”

Why?

We had some loot we need to hide & figure that the end of a dead end street would be a good place. Vacant with lots of bushes!

Unfortunately, we drive to the end of the dead end & it isn’t dead! It’s a cul-de-sac with a few houses with porch lights on.

No good for loot-hiding–but we see one house with no lights on. Hmmm–should we ‘visit’ it? We decide ‘no’ and drive away.

After some conversation, we decide to hide the loot in my garage underneath my ride mower. Lawn mowing season is still 2 months away: the stuff will be safe & I’ll check it every once-in-a-while.

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

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Alliteration

Alliteration (al-lit’-er-a’-tion): Repetition of the same letter or sound within nearby words. Most often, repeated initial consonants. Taken to an extreme alliteration becomes the stylistic vice of paroemion where nearly every word in a sentence begins with the same consonant.

I’ve got to tell you: Stop using the credit card! You are running up big bills that we are barely able to pay. Besides, you are buying whacky stuff. Like, we don’t need an electric egg beater that checks your blood pressure while you’re making a soufflé. We don’t even eat soufflés, let alone make them. Check your blood pressure? God, you are in perfect shape!

Oh–also–the ‘Cat Collection’ of cat suits and cat hats. We don’t even have a cat– so we don’t need a kitty cop suit–even if we had a cat we wouldn’t need a kitty cop suit!

The list is long of stupid stuff you have purchased: PLEASE stop using the credit card, or I’m going cut it up.

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

Allusion

Allusion (ə-ˈlü-zhən):[1] A reference/representation of/to a well-known person, place, event, literary work, or work of art . . . “a brief reference, explicit or indirect, to a person, place or event, or to another literary work or passage”. It is left to the reader or hearer to make the connection . . . ; an overt allusion is a misnomer for what is simply a reference.[2]

It was one of the worst storms we ever had, and the wind certainly did not cry Mary as Jimi would have it. Rather, it howled like a hungry wolf at my door, felled 100-year old trees, cut off everybody’s electricity, and blew my lawn chairs away (I have no idea where they are).

I don’t know where to start my search for my lawn chairs–I wouldn’t be surprised if they are decorating a tree somewhere nearby.

1. Phonetic transcription courtesy of Miriam-Webster’s On-Line Dictionaryhttp://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/allusion <3/6/08>.

2. Definition courtesy of Wikipediahttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Allusion <3/6/08>.

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Amphibologia

Amphibologia (am’-fi-bo-lo’-gi-a): Ambiguity of grammatical structure, often occasioned by mispunctuation. [A vice of ambiguity.]

I surprised my wife in my new underpants. She was watching TV and I paraded in–the underpants had just arrived from Duluth Trading Post via FEDEX and I wanted to show them off! I couldn’t wait.

Like I said, she was surprised!

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

Ampliatio

Ampliatio (am’-pli-a’-ti-o): Using the name of something or someone before it has obtained that name or after the reason for that name has ceased. A form of epitheton.

(1) Hello Doctor!

Six more months and you’ll be official! Wishing you luck with the remainder of your studies! As your father, I want to be your first official patient! Nothing serious–just a physical examination!

(2) Hey Speedy!

I think it’s a great idea that you’ve decided to start an aggressive diet and exercise program! Lose 100 pounds and you’ll be back at the head of the pack–like you were in high school. The way you ran the 50-yard dash–wow! You certainly earned your nickname back in the day!

  • Post your own ampliatio on the “Comments” page!

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

Anacoenosis

Anacoenosis (an’-a-ko-en-os’-is): Asking the opinion or judgment of the judges or audience, usually implying their common interest with the speaker in the matter [and illustrating their communally-held ideals of truth, justice, goodness and beauty, for better and for worse].

How far should we go as we condemn our enemies? Should we threaten to kill them? Should we see justice done?

We all agree that our enemies are dangerous and pose a threat to our way of life, and the lives of many innocent victims: men and women who just want to live their lives in peace.

Time is of the essence. We should make our choice before it is too late.

We must bomb them in their strongholds–especially in the rugged hills where they gather in caves and tunnels and plan their next attack or construct their IEDs.

Who would object? None of us would object. The die is cast. We will bomb their strongholds tomorrow at 04.00. We will eliminate the threat they pose. We will help our allies live better lives.

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

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Anacoloutha

Anacoloutha (an-a-co’-lu-tha): Substituting one word with another whose meaning is very close to the original, but in a non-reciprocal fashion; that is, one could not use the first, original word as a substitute for the second. This is the opposite of acoloutha.

The night sky was lit with a multitude of shining stars. The glimmering points made a tapestry of the dark clear heavens and sent an irresistible invitation to look up and be awed.

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

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Anacoluthon

Anacoluthon (an-a-co-lu’-thon): A grammatical interruption or lack of implied sequence within a sentence. That is, beginning a sentence in a way that implies a certain logical resolution, but concluding it differently than the grammar leads one to expect. Anacoluthon can be either a grammatical fault or a stylistic virtue, depending on its use. In either case, it is an interruption or a verbal lack of symmetry. Anacoluthon is characteristic of spoken language or interior thought, and thus suggests those domains when it occurs in writing.

That bomb was huge–bigger than huge: gargantuan and don’t get a stiff neck looking at your iPhone!

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

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Anadiplosis

Anadiplosis (an’-a-di-plo’-sis): The repetition of the last word (or phrase) from the previous line, clause, or sentence at the beginning of the next. Often combined with climax.

Spring is starting here. Here, the grass is turning green once more. Once more, the little flowers are blooming. Blooming wild purple violets, white snowdrops, pink trillium, green and purple Jack-in-the-Pulpit,  and more: More than we can imagine as we say goodbye to another cruel, yet beautiful, winter.

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

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