Tag Archives: elocutio

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.


It was 1966 (I think). Viet Nam was happening, I had just graduated from high school, and I joined the Army. I wanted the educational benefits for college that enlistment afforded, and to be a paratrooper too—totally trusting it would be as good as the recruiter said it would be. What the recruiter didn’t tell me was that I had enlisted for three years guaranteeing only that I’d be a paratrooper. I didn’t know I was supposed to be guaranteed a job specialty (MOS) as one of the benefits of enlisting—draftees were put where the Army wanted them to be. Given my naivety, I was the equivalent of a draftee: the Army would assign me an MOS and I would train for it at an Army post somewhere in the US.

When I completed my basic training, I was assigned to Military Police training at Ft. Gordon, GA. I learned how to direct traffic, catch criminals, drive with no lights at night, beat bad guys with a baton (ha ha, just kidding).

There’s a lot more to my Army story, BUT I did get the educational benefits and they saved my life. I am forever grateful for that.


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

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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]


That was totally gonzo, man. I felt like I fell down a rabbit hole with a small group of Picasso people, a copy of Odysseus’ speech in one hand and “Archie” in the other with “Mona Lisa” on the cover. Pollock would’ve been totally proud!


1. Phonetic transcription courtesy of Miriam-Webster’s On-Line Dictionary: http://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 beat my wife for the fiftieth time last night! It never gets old. I love beating her. She’s never bothered and she always comes back for more. What a good sport! I’m going to beat her mercilessly again tonight! If it wasn’t for Scrabble, we’d have nothing to do together.

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

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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) Hey Killer!

I can see it in your eyes and the way you lash out at anybody who criticizes you—like the guy who called you out for trying to push him out of line at the vaccine clinic. You fondled your knife and looked like you were going to stab him in the back.

I don’t know where your uncontrollable anger comes from, but I know where it’s going take you. Before you kill somebody, you should get some help or I’ll be calling you Killer when I come to visit you in prison, and the name will fit.

Oh my God! Put down the gun! I was kidding. You are . . .

(2) How’s it goin’ Wild Man?

Those were the days—acid, grass, up all night, sleep all day! What’s up these days? I know they call you Father—the starched collar is a dead giveaway. Your pupils aren’t dilated either! Now, you just take a big slug of wine on Sundays, a far cry from the nightly bottle of Old Grandad we used to steal from the liquor store and share under the bridge down by the river. Ha ha!

I’m looking for a benefactor to invest some money in my start-up website, “Boppin’ Mamas.” Given our past, I think you’re a perfect candidate for a little front money. Get my drift Father Wild Man? We don’t want our past to be today’s front page news! Do we?

Oh Jesus, no! Ow! Stop for God’s sake! Put down the Chalice! Can’t you see? I’m bleeding all over—no, no, I was just kid. . .


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

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Anacoeosis

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].


I have been worried. I have been full of confidence. There are countless other opposing feelings that we move between. We share the volatility of life’s pressures. Haven’t you awakened happy in morning’s sunshine rays only to find yourself angry and sad at the end of the day sitting on a bar stool ordering another shot and a beer? You know what it’s like to be skulking around the house angry at your partner for maxing the credit card and feeling the anger melt when you see your child’s toy bunny lying on its side on floor—the bunny your partner bought 8 years ago for your daughter’s first Easter—the bunny she still loves.

The examples I’ve cited may not exactly fit your lives, but the point they make probably does. Aren’t our lives filled with a strange instability? Isn’t our trajectory through life a wavy line—zig zags, peaks and valleys, highs and lows?

Instead of looking for a joyous straight line through life, accept the peaks and valleys because they are inevitable—they give meaning to life. Ironically, if you insist on living on the high side in some sort of manic trance, your insistence has already been thwarted by the opposition of life’s flow.

And you may embrace the negativity at the bottom of the hill holding tight with opiates, or resentment, or the mysteries of mental illness. You may act as if negativity were your lover, unable to let go by any means: rejecting appropriate medication, psychological counseling, listening to the people who love you, or by staying busy.

Desiring to stay on the mountain top or ‘stuck’ in the valley, you are doing battle with life’s sustaining flow: CHANGE. There is no sustainable ‘middle.’ There is the omnipresence of movement—mental, physical—it does not matter. Change beckons. Change demands. Change changes for better and for worse.

How many of you have heard the saying: “Life has its ups and downs”? Like most cliches, it’s true. There is no Never Never Land. Hoping and coping we move toward the inevitable.


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


His tongue is Italian. Who didn’t know? If you ever met him you knew. He was made in Genoa from head to toe. He is proud of his origins and his professorship at the university, but it was his tongue that got him into trouble and cost him his job.


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.


The time is right, the day is long, my socks are too big. Where is my hope—the car won’t start—but the time is still right. Right for nothing, or maybe, reading the car’s owner’s manual which is in German, a language I don’t understand, like religion, or May Day, or lighting a fire, or roasting a chicken. Buck buck ba-dawk-it, not cock-a-doodle poodle! Don’t worry, I’m ok. Just trying to be funny and failing.

Anyway, as I was previously headed to Newark, my foot fell asleep.


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.


Why are there people who refuse to wear masks in this time of pandemic? What motivates these maskless people? People form their opinions about these kinds of things from what they see, hear, and read and perhaps a life-long commitment to resisting or subverting dictates, failing to realize that disobedience implies obedience to whatever dictates their disobedience. One cannot evade obedience.

I am willing to guess that the anti-maskers live their lives in the “anti” lane avowing rationales for their untoward behavior that are couched in higher-order values that, in their views, carry more weight than the values operative in the “mandates” they are resisting. One would think that saving lives and curtailing the pandemic by wearing masks would be the paramount value operative in debates over government mask-wearing mandates, but that’s not the case. The arguments have come down to the government’s right to make and enforce the mask mandates—not the public health aims of the mandates as rationales for their acceptance.

Acceptance of mandates is irksome, but that shouldn’t empower people to reject them as such. The COVID 19 crisis isn’t fabricated—nearly 3 million people have died. I guess if they want to kill a few more people (possibly including themselves) in the name of liberty, go maskless, and while they’re at it, don’t get vaccinated and be remembered as narcissistic sociopaths, not as a champions of liberty.


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

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Anamnesis

Anamnesis (an’-am-nee’-sis): Calling to memory past matters. More specifically, citing a past author [apparently] from memory. Anamnesis helps to establish ethos [credibility], since it conveys the idea that the speaker is knowledgeable of the received wisdom from the past.


Takashi Miike, the Japanese film director, tells us he is “attracted to bad people because they are very human.”

As I continue my quest to understand why people are attracted to Donald Trump, maybe Miike has the answer, maybe not. There’s no doubt that Trump is bad, but I’m sort of at a loss as to see how this makes him “very human” and how being very human, in turn, makes him attractive.

Maybe it’s like “Rebel Without a Cause” or “Leader of the Pack” or Billy the Kid or “White Heat.” It’s the shifting sands of good and evil, and the room evil’s project opens for love’s avowal—love of a certain kind—for what may be bad—loving OxyContin, loving cigars, loving driving fast: there is an endless array of “loves” that are about the gut’s “guilty pleasures” and it’s waiving of the consideration of the full range of consequences in pursuing pleasures, or consuming what is pleasurable.

“Bad” Trump brings pleasures and their affections to life in people who’ve opted into an orgiastic ethic that builds a wall between the present and the future, dwelling on the “taste” of Trump as if he were an ice cream sandwich, a chocolate bar, or a cold beer on a hot summer day, not a moral man with a moral purpose. He is unwilling or unable to pursue the Christian call to affect “faith, hope, and charity.” His faith is a bizarre tangle of selfishness. His hopes are bad hopes: blocking immigrants, ignoring environmental concerns, chipping away at Transgender rights, etc. His charity is directed toward pardoning bad people and promoting other bad people, like Roger Stone or Kelly Conway.

Oh well. If you want to understand Trump’s attractiveness, think of him as an ice cream sandwich, a cannoli, a martini, a fast car, or a giant creme brûlée. He is a guilty pleasure partaken by people whose tongues trump their brains in the battle for their wills.


Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (rhetoric.byu.edu). Gorgias has inserted the bracketed words [apparently] and [credibility].

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Anaphora

Anaphora (an-aph’-o-ra): Repetition of the same word or group of words at the beginning of successive clauses, sentences, or lines.


We search the library for answers and the answers raise more questions.

We search the Bible for solace and direction, as we read the words we remain numb and full of dread.

We search a bottle of gin for distraction and to take us on a voyage away from our uninvited memories on the calming sea of alcohol.

Will we ever stop searching? Will we find it? Will the truth ever set us free? Or, will it bind us to its immutable presence, with no way out, no way around, eclipsing it’s others, and cancelling fancy’s flights forever?

Is the search all that matters? Is “eureka” just a word that marks a moment of fleeting revelation that dims in the urgency of time and the necessity of choosing?

I don’t know.

I don’t want to know.

I don’t care.


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

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Anapodoton

Anapodoton (an’-a-po’-do-ton): A figure in which a main clause is suggested by the introduction of a subordinate clause, but that main clause never occurs.

Anapodoton is a kind of anacoluthon, since grammatical expectations are interrupted. If the expression trails off, leaving the subordinate clause incomplete, this is sometimes more specifically called anantapodoton. Anapodoton has also named what occurs when a main clause is omitted because the speaker interrupts himself/herself to revise the thought, leaving the initial clause grammatically unresolved but making use of it nonetheless by recasting its content into a new, grammatically complete sentence.


If it’s too cheap! When it broke, the blender’s blades came loose and flew like a butcher-copter out the kitchen window. They hit the shrub and decapitated a chickadee. The two-week warranty had expired. I had paid a price for my stinginess. One torn up chickadee. One blender in the trash.


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

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Anastrophe

Anastrophe (an-as’-tro-phee): Departure from normal word order for the sake of emphasis. Anastrophe is most often a synonym for hyperbaton, but is occasionally referred to as a more specific instance of hyperbaton: the changing of the position of only a single word.


My happy home, planted in the woods beside a chattering brook, surrounded by soft moss, green grass and willows tall. A refuge. A hideaway. Serenity. Will you come and there with me live?


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

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Anesis

Anesis (an’-e-sis): Adding a concluding sentence that diminishes the effect of what has been said previously. The opposite of epitasis.


You are beautiful, smart, and funny and your breath smells like dead rats. I’m sorry for saying that, but you need to know why I start to gag when you get closer than 3 feet. If we go and see my dental hygienist, I think we can make the smell go away. It could be hopeless though.


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

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Antanaclasis

Antanaclasis (an’-ta-na-cla’-sis): The repetition of a word or phrase whose meaning changes in the second instance.


You made me pay the damn tolls and gas for this stupid trip to see your former boyfriend. Taking this trip to see that piece of shit is like asking “for whom the bell tolls.” I think it tolls for us. I’m just going to drop you off at Mr. Bozo’s and mail your stuff to you. Can you at least give me ten bucks for gas?


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

Antanagoge

Antanagoge (an’-ta-na’-go-gee): Putting a positive spin on something that is nevertheless acknowledged to be negative or difficult.


So you got 10 years in prison, Dad. All that free time! Wow! Just think of all the friends you’ll make, and the books you’ll have the time read. You’ll finally be able to finish the Tom Swift set that Grandpa gave you for Christmas back in the 60s. Oh! You get to live there for free too! I’m jealous Dad. Maybe I’ll try a little fraud!

And sorry, I’m no good at writing letters, so don’t expect to hear from me, and my unbelievably busy schedule won’t permit me me to visit—after all, I’m Don Junior, one of the smartest in-demand young winners in the world.


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

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Antenantiosis

Antenantiosis (an’-ten-an’-ti-os’-is): See litotes. (Deliberate understatement, especially when expressing a thought by denying its opposite. The Ad Herennium author suggests litotes as a means of expressing modesty [downplaying one’s accomplishments] in order to gain the audience’s favor [establishing ethos]).


We all know it wasn’t an insurrection. It was, as a matter of fact, just a raucous display of our patriotic fervor. What’s wrong with that? And please, my fellow militia members, I shouldn’t be praised for the minor role I played in making it happen. Buying bear spray in bulk just took a credit card and my pickup truck. The bullhorns were donated by the Russian embassy, and using flag poles as clubs was just a random thought in my motel room the night before. I’m sure glad I could share it with you: it was you who utilized it, cracking a few skulls trying to “Stop the Steal.”

I will fade back into the shadows now, a small part of a big deal, but not a big deal myself. May our one true Christian God bless us and keep us pissed off until we meet again.


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

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Anthimeria

Anthimeria (an-thi-mer’-i-a): Substitution of one part of speech for another (such as a noun used as a verb).


He peanut-buttered his way to oblivion. He was a greedy grabber—everything in excess, everything over the top, everything.

He was found stuck behind the wheel of his car—a car filled with sliced bread and jars of peanut butter—turned on its side on a country road in South New Jersey, somewhere outside of Atlantic City. State Police say that if he had been eating crunchy, and not creamy, his hands would not have stuck to the wheel when he tried to avoid a carload of drunken teenagers swerving across the road.

Death due to peanut butter and reckless teens. It is so wrong. But in death he has earned his nickname: Skippy. As we lower him into the earth, in his casket made to look like two giant slices of white bread, let us bow our heads and smell the peanut butter in the soft spring air.


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

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Anthypophora

Anthypophora (an’-thi-po’-phor-a): A figure of reasoning in which one asks and then immediately answers one’s own questions (or raises and then settles imaginary objections). Reasoning aloud. Anthypophora sometimes takes the form of asking the audience or one’s adversary what can be said on a matter, and thus can involve both anacoenosis and apostrophe.


Am I the problem? No!

Am I the solution? No!

What the hell am I? Indifferent!


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

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Antimetabole

Antimetabole (an’-ti-me-ta’-bo-lee): Repetition of words, in successive clauses, in reverse grammatical order.


When we look into the darkness, darkness looks into us. It knows our fears. It leads us astray. It makes us fall. It hurts us. Nevertheless, darkness has a seductive beauty. It hides us. It comforts us. It diminishes all of our horizons—it makes them disappear, providing a glimpse of infinity, which is nothing’s preferred name.


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

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Antimetathesis

Antimetathesis (an-ti-me-ta’-the-sis): Inversion of the members of an antithesis.


The farther I climbed up, the farther things were down below, but nothing’s up that’s not below—the flowers, the trees upon the earth, below the sky.


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

Antiprospopoeia

Antiprosopopoeia (an-ti-pro-so-po-pe’-i-a): The representation of persons [or other animate beings] as inanimate objects. This inversion of prosopopoeia or personification can simply be the use of a metaphor to depict or describe a person [or other animate being].


It’s Mitch the Glitch—the worn out old shoe from Kentucky! I think it’s time to give him the boot.


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

Antirrhesis

Antirrhesis (an-tir-rhee’-sis): Rejecting reprehensively the opinion or authority of someone.


You have no right to call me your friend. Is leaving me stranded in Salt Lake City what a friend does? Is cleaning out my bank account after you stole my PIN what a friend does? And God—letting all my houseplants die when you “took care” of them while I was in the hospital after you “accidentally” shot me—that’s friendship?

Now you want to borrow my debit card because we’re friends? We are NOT friends! Friends are nice to each other. Friends care about each other. We will never be friends. We are enemies. Get out! Stay away from me! Go ruin somebody else’s life.


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


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Antisagoge

Antisagoge (an-tis-a-go’-gee): 1. Making a concession before making one’s point (=paromologia); 2. Using a hypothetical situation or a precept to illustrate antithetical alternative consequences, typically promises of reward and punishment.

Ok, ok. So I might have overestimated the popularity of my cardboard bicycle, but its point is not about popularity, it’s about making a difference—changing peoples’ view of cardboard. It’s not just for cards any more, with my miracle quick-hardening cardboard construction syrup, we can build a brave new brown paper world—a corrugated utopia with shelter for all, and bicycles too. Just think: Pit mines, plastic pollutants entangling innocent fish, noisy metallic four-wheeled death-crates spewing petrol and carbon-based gasses into the air, castles made of steel and sand—castles costing millions, and millions, and millions, all replaced by clean, cozy, durable cardboard.

Imagine: Welcome to your cardboard mansion. Everything made of light-weight treated cardboard. You’ll even have a cardboard microwave and a cardboard TV, and a cardboard family too (if you want one).

Think about it. Talk about it. Make the change. Join Cardboard Nation. Our slogan: “It’s corrugated for your safety, your future, and your peace of mind.” Our first demonstration project is being erected at Disneyland’s “It’s a Small World.” You know, “fairy tales can come true it can happen to you, if you’re young at heart.” So, don your oxygen tube, and grab your walker! The future is wide open.

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

Antistasis

Antistasis (an-ti’-sta-sis): The repetition of a word in a contrary sense. Often, simply synonymous with antanaclasis.


You broke my heart and now I’m totally broke—no lover, no vodka, no cigarettes. I will see you in hell. Oh, what the hell. Let’s go to Mexico for a couple of days. Maybe we can rekindle the raw emotion that made our relationship worth a damn. Put down the gun, put on some clothes, and put on a smile. Ok? Orbitz awaits.


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

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Antisthecon

Antisthecon (an-tis’-the-con): Substitution of one sound, syllable, or letter for another within a word. A kind of metaplasm: the general term for changes to word spelling.


Have you tried the new Jaruzi? It’s a tub with jets of hot water that boil your jars of fruit preserves. It is made by the people who make hot tubs in France. It’s a great thing to have if you live around raspberries, strawberries, or blueberries. You can make 25 jars of jelly or jam at once! We sell ours on the internet and made $50.00 last year. We hid in our bushes and threw unsold jars at passing cars. It was irresponsible, I know, but I get nesty when things go to hell.

I’ll sell you my Jaruzi for cheap. Maybe I’ll give it to you along with 85 free jars of jam and my raspberry lease and 200 empty jars.


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

Paperback and Kindle editions of The Daily Trope are available on Amazon under the title The Book of Tropes.