Tag Archives: definitions

Parabola

Parabola (par-ab’-o-la): The explicit drawing of a parallel between two essentially dissimilar things, especially with a moral or didactic purpose. A parable.

Lying uses truth’s light to project beautiful shadows that are mediated by desire; and loving the shadows, the lie is embraced by their target’s affections.

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

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Paragoge

Paragoge (par-a-go’-ge): The addition of a letter or syllable to the end of a word. A kind of metaplasm.

Trump is claiming he does not want to start a war with Iran.  Well, he already has. He’ll probably call it something weasley like “peacelessness.” Let’s just realize people are going to be killed because of him. How many remains to be seen. Trump has the wit of a nit and the compassion of a frog. He’s so smarto–like a slug or a stinkbug.

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

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Paramythia

Paramythia (pa-ra-mee’-thi-a): An expression of consolation and encouragement.

Don’t worry about being impeached. Just relax and enjoy the press coverage. After all, even if they find you guilty, it’s not like they’re going to cut off your head. Anyway, your constant lying about being not guilty is playing really well with the ignorant morons who will defend you to the death wearing Chinese-made work pants, shirts, boots, socks, and underwear. And, you know, Pence will pardon you at the same time the Senate is passing sentence. No matter what happens, you have our support. Russia has always been 100% on your side. Just keep your mouth shut and do what your good friend Putin says. Everything will work itself out.

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

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Paraprosdokian

Paraprosdokian: A figure of speech in which the latter part of a sentence or phrase [or series = anticlimax] is surprising or unexpected in a way that causes the reader or listener to reframe the first part. . . . For this reason, it is extremely popular among comedians and satirists. An especially clever paraprosdokian not only changes the meaning of an early phrase, but also plays on the double meaning of a particular word.(1)

“It was a fate worse than high school. We couldn’t bring our own lunch.” R. McDonald

1. “Paraprosdokian.” WikipediaThe Free Encyclopedia. 4 Jan 2008, 03:30 UTC. Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. 9 Jan 2008 <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paraprosdokian>.

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Paregmenon

Paregmenon (pa-reg’-men-on): A general term for the repetition of a word or its cognates in a short sentence. Often, but not always, polyptoton.

Time, time, time! Too much time! Too little time! Too much; when we’re alone! To little; when we’re together. Time is a shelter from, and exposes us to, the forces of decay. Why must time be a jumble of opposites–of poisons and cures, of curses and blessings, of beginnings and endings?

Outside of time there is nothing. The cessation of consciousness of time’s passing is death. Or, is it the prelude to rebirth? Or both? Or neither?

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

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Prodiorthosis

Prodiorthosis (pro-di-or-tho’-sis): A statement intended to prepare one’s audience for something shocking or offensive. An extreme example of protherapeia.

It was said that eons ago, before people could actually talk–they grunted. I know that may be shocking to both of you, but grunting may actually say a lot. You probably grunt at you your most emotional moments. Think about it: lifting a heavy weight and putting it down–Ungh!” There are other notable grunting moments in the peoples’ lives and they are generally experienced at passionate and positive moments, but sometimes not.”

Now, I need to tell you: You have 48 hours to vacate these premises for non-payment of rent. Failure to do so will result in your forcible eviction and arrest for squatting. You possessions will be confiscated and donated to a charitable organization.

UNGH! (The Listeners–a duet)

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

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Pareuresis

Pareuresis (par-yur-ee’-sis): To put forward a convincing excuse. [Shifting the blame.]

It was a moonless night–very dark. He was wearing black (I found out later). I was going the speed limit–55. I guess he ran in front of my car: I didn’t realize he was even there until I hit him and he made a loud thump.

When I pulled over to the road shoulder after hitting him, I noticed he was my x-husband. Given our relationship, it’s pretty clear to me that he wanted to bring me additional grief by making me kill him. He is a giant jerk. I am saddened by his death, but by no means grief stricken. You would’ve run him over too, but in a way he ran himself over.

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

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Paroemia

Paroemia (pa-ri’-mi-a): One of several terms describing short, pithy sayings. Others include adage, apothegm, gnome, maxim, proverb, and sententia.

“He’s like a fish out of water. Let’s keep him there until he stops flopping.” Anon

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

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Paroemion

Paroemion (par-mi’-on): Alliteration taken to an extreme where nearly every word in a sentence begins with the same consonant. Sometimes, simply a synonym for alliteration or for homoeoprophoron [a stylistic vice].

Triggerboy Trump talks trash-tainted truths transformed to trivial tangents tending to transgress as they exit his yelling rally-mouth.

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

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Paromoiosis

Paromoiosis (par-o-moy-o’-sis): Parallelism of sound between the words of adjacent clauses whose lengths are equal or approximate to one another. The combination of isocolon and assonance.

I am fixed on happiness.

I never move, I guess.

The wind blows.

The weed grows.

I don’t care.

But au contraire.

There’s trouble nonetheless.

No trouble, no happiness.

The sun breaks through a dismal sky

Beaming pleasure like a lullaby.

You get sick. You get well.

Your medicine delivers you from hell.

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

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Paromologia

Paromologia (par-o-mo-lo’-gi-a): Conceding an argument, either jestingly and contemptuously, or to prove a more important point. A synonym for concessio.

What, are you kidding? Lying over 15,000 times so far this year? Yeah. So what? Anyway, they aren’t lies, they’re my stairway to reelection! There is no way my candidacy would go anywhere without 1,000s of lies. You know, reelection justifies the stairway, just like the end justifies the means. That was a lie. Ha ha!

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

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Paronomasia

Paronomasia (pa-ro-no-ma’-si-a): Using words that sound alike but that differ in meaning (punning).

His face was all puckered up and he was squirming around–it was like he was sitting on a hard old stool–probably his.

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

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Parrhesia

Parrhesia (par-rez’-i-a): Either to speak candidly or to ask forgiveness for so speaking. Sometimes considered a vice.

I’m sorry but you smell like a cow’s ass. A shower would be a good idea, but maybe you just want to feel like one of the herd with your MAGA hat and your unfounded mooing.

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

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Pathopoeia

Pathopoeia ( path-o-poy’-a): A general term for speech that moves hearers emotionally, especially as the speaker attempts to elicit an emotional response by way of demonstrating his/her own feelings (exuscitatio). Melanchthon explains that this effect is achieved by making reference to any of a variety of pathetic circumstances: the time, one’s gender, age, location, etc

I am crying softly standing in this sea of graves. Stones all the same size. All the same height. All the same shape. Plots, all the same length and width. All showing the military’s obsession with order, and uniformity, but more importantly, showing equality–the joining, the training, the fighting, the dying. Maybe a stone’s inscription will mark some difference, but from here there is a display of patriotic unity, and equality of duty capturing the essence of service to flag and country.

At this point in the Republic’s history our highest ranking officer, our Commander in Chief does not seem to understand what makes the tears well up in our eyes–he pardons war criminals, he abandons our Kurdish allies, and he makes deals with other countries purely for personal gain. I think about his moral failures and incompetence and my tears dry, and my eyes coldly project my desire that this man–this fake Commander–this corrupt President–‘don’ an orange jumpsuit and join the ranks of criminals, keeping company among his fellow pimples on America’s ass.

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

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Perclusio

Perclusio (per-clu’-si-o): A threat against someone, or something.

If you don’t start acting like a grown up world leader at these summit meetings, we’re going to make you stay at a youth hostel with the rest of the kids. Also, you will be required to wear short pants and go to bed by 21.30. Now, go sit in the corner over there and think about what you’ve done.

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

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Periergia

Periergia (pe-ri-er’-gi-a): Overuse of words or figures of speech. As such, it may simply be considered synonymous with macrologia. However, as Puttenham’s term suggests, periergia may differ from simple superfluity in that the language appears over-labored.

This was a big day. It was the size of Canada and I didn’t have a map–just a slip of paper that said “Roll like a river.” The white Christmas lights flashing in the windows were like starfish rotating in the phosphorescent swirl of a moonless tide pool cluttered with snails and seaweed like some kind of sushi dinner that comes in with the tide and waits for the soft embrace of bamboo chopsticks clutching it and raising it toward the gaping mouth of a hungry human.

Oh God!

To my amazement, right then, the day grew larger, now it was the size of North America. I looked at my watch. It was 192 hours past 65. What!? Suddenly, a sage appeared from of the trunk of my stupid Ford. He was wearing blue and gray striped pajamas with “SAGE” monogrammed over the pocket. Before I could ask him what the hell I should do to get through what had become a limitless day, he said “Roll like a river” and turned into small shrub–maybe an azalea. I wasn’t surprised. I had read about things like this in my book club. So, I got down on the ground and started to roll ‘like a river.’ I rolled off the curb, and was run over by a FEDEX truck, and the day shrunk down to nothing–down to a broken leg and multiples cuts and bruises, and a mild concussion.

It WAS a big day. It was the day I almost died. 

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

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Period

Period: The periodic sentence, characterized by the suspension of the completion of sense until its end. This has been more possible and favored in Greek and Latin, languages already favoring the end position for the verb, but has been approximated in uninflected languages such as English. [This figure may also engender surprise or suspense–consequences of what Kenneth Burke views as ‘appeals’ of information.]

What is time? “Time is of the essence,” as they say. But I ask, “The essence of what?” Of dread? Of hope? Of slowly decomposing into the earth and polluting the ground with a body saturated by decadence, debauchery, and woe? I am not sick, I am well. Yet I dwell in remorseful self indulgence: in time. Time, you are the heaviest burden. We carry you to the end. In death we drop you. I hate you, time, while I’m awake, but in dreams you are sometimes absent, like the cure of a disease. And I fell asleep.

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

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Periphrasis

Periphrasis (per-if’-ra-sis): The substitution of a descriptive word or phrase for a proper name (a species of circumlocution); or, conversely, the use of a proper name as a shorthand to stand for qualities associated with it. (Circumlocutions are rhetorically useful as euphemisms, as a method of amplification, or to hint at something without stating it.)

There goes the orange two-legged Fat Glob followed by his pet Cheese of Kiss Ass trying to hump Fat Glob’s calf while he’s on the move–headed briskly to the Chief Executive Trough. Today they’re serving fermented pig slop seasoned with dandruff and a sprinkling of nasal hair. The chef is tense because he’s never made anything quite this disgusting before. However, Kiss Ass has assured him that Fat Glob will love it. He is somewhat relieved, but still a little worried. He guesses he’ll just have to lie about where the nasal hairs came from.

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

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Personification

Personification: Reference to abstractions or inanimate objects as though they had human qualities or abilities. The English term for prosopopeia (pro-so-po-pe’-i-a) or ethopoeia (e-tho-po’-ia): the description and portrayal of a character (natural propensities, manners and affections, etc.).

My apple trees were telling me I would be making a lot of cider and jelly this fall. Their branches were bent under the weight of the apples–red, round, luscious apples begging to be picked.

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

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Polyptoton

Polyptoton (po-lyp-to’-ton): Repeating a word, but in a different form. Using a cognate of a given word in close proximity.

I think it was the Nazis who said repetition is the soul of truth, believing that lies continually repeated would start sounding true. I think it is true that repetition is the soul of truth–truth is true everywhere all the time. It does not change.

It takes a sort of disgusting deviousness to translate that maxim into a rationale for persistently telling the same lies over and over again, affording them the luster of truth, passing them off as true, and deceiving millions of trusting people by their telling.

How do we put and end to this? Truth is the foundation of democracy. Lies erode it and the erosion will ultimately lead to democracy’s collapse. It may be too late. What can we do?

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

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Polysyndeton

Polysyndeton (pol-y-syn’-de-ton): Employing many conjunctions between clauses, often slowing the tempo or rhythm. (Asyndeton is the opposite of polysyndeton: an absence of conjunctions.)

The witnesses testified, and testified, and testified, and testified, and testified and clearly told the truth. The Republicans postured, and played at histrionics, and affected righteous indignation, and were rude to the American patriots who had come forward in service of our Republic.

The contrast was startling. What the Republicans did reflected what they believe their supporters wanted to hear and how they wanted to hear it: rude and accusatory monologues that didn’t really depend on witness testimony, but instead, on foregone conclusions constituting the party line. Their presence was a distraction and they knew it. They have poorly served the American people and should be put on the witness stand and asked why they said what they said, and why they said it the way they did. I think the truth is: To subvert justice.

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

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Procatalepsis

Procatalepsis (pro-cat-a-lep’-sis): Refuting anticipated objections.

I have six credit cards. Each one has a $12,000.00 limit. None of them has a balance. There’s nothing stopping us from buying that cow. We’ve got the money. We can rent a truck and drive her back to Brooklyn. There’s room for her to live in the parking garage below our condo–in our designated parking space. There may be a few minor difficulties, like the law, and food, and the smell, but we can shuttle her poop in big garbage bags and buy her food at the pet store. I’m sure they have cow food–if they have snake and rabbit food, they’re sure to have cow food! As far as the law goes, hey, this is Brooklyn we’re talking about. Our neighbors keep chickens and nobody bothers them. They just hand over a package of thighs once and month. We can hand over milk.  

Well, that covers it. What are we going name her? What about “How Now”? You know, like in “how now brown cow.” Or maybe “Madam Melania” in honor of our nation’s First Lady? At any rate, we can discuss naming later. Let’s get the truck lined up.

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

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Prodiorthosis

Prodiorthosis (pro-di-or-tho’-sis): A statement intended to prepare one’s audience for something shocking or offensive. An extreme example of protherapeia.

Good afternoon members of the press. Our lives typically run along more or less predictable lines. We get up. We go to work. We go home. Well, I am sad to say that today isn’t normal. President Donald John Trump has been kidnapped. He is being held hostage somewhere in San Francisco, California by people who have threatened “remove his pussy grabbing hands” if he does not pay $500 million in reparations to his sexual assault victims, prohibit his children from writing any more “piece of shit” books, and stop “most of his lying” to the American people. The kidnappers realize that President Trump may not be able to completely stop lying and are willing to allow him 5 lies per day (down from 22).

The United States government stands ready to do all it can to secure the President’s safe return. Some time next month the Coast Guard will fly around over San Francisco Bay, and the local Boy Scouts will undertake a vigilance campaign positioning themselves outside convenience stores and video arcades, twice a week from 3-5 pm.

If you know of anybody with $500 million, please inform Acting President Pence. He believes that private funding is appropriate in this case: “Mother thinks it would be wrong to use federal tax dollars to pay ransom, especially to people from San Francisco who have turned their backs on Jesus.”

So, members of the press. There you have it. But, as they say, “Every cloud has a silver lining.”

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

Proecthesis

Proecthesis (pro-ek’-the-sis): When, in conclusion, a justifying reason is provided.

Ok, so I’ve been missing for seven years. No, I haven’t been in prison. I didn’t remarry or even have any kind of relationship with anybody for all those years. I just got stuck in the “grass is always greener” syndrome. Every time I thought about coming back, I got a glimpse of the other side and just kept on going. Finally, I got to a place in Nevada where there was no grass. I decided to come home right then and there. Now, I’m mowing lawns for a living and it keeps me satisfied. Can we start over?

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

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Prolepsis

Prolepsis (pro-lep’-sis):  (1) A synonym for procatalepsis [refuting anticipated objections];  (2) speaking of something future as though already done or existing. A figure of anticipation.

1. We’ve seen the evidence. We know the facts. We’ve heard the testimony from a parade of credible witnesses. The consensus is strong. The window of reasonable doubt is closed. Prepare to register your votes for or against the impeachment of Donald John Trump, 45th President of the United States of America.

2. The shining lights. The long shadow of the unbreachable wall. The illegal immigrants thwarted, turning around and going back to where they came from. More jobs for real Americans.  Fewer drugs. Fewer rapes. Fewer robberies. Fewer murders. We’re almost there! A few more billion and we’ll all be safe–free of worry and free of fear! God bless America!

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

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