Tag Archives: example

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.


Freedom by any means. Justice for all. Sometimes the pursuit of political reform cannot be achieved by the ballot. You heard the noise outside—the yelling, the explosions, the gunfire. Accordingly, reform has taken place. Blood has been spilled. The tyrant is no more. He is dead. His corpse is burning in the town square as I speak. 

Now, we shall return to our democratic roots. The tyrant’s political co-conspirators will be tried and most likely die by being hanged. 

This has been a horrific time in our country’s history. Our democracy is restored. Elections will be held in three months. Go out and spread the word. We are once again the home of freedom and justice for all.


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

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Proecthesis

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


Me: Ok. I lied to you about everything. My name isn’t John. My father isn’t George Bush. I never went to college. I hate Swiss cheese. This house isn’t mine. I’m not an attorney. But, I love you. When your dad was fatally wounded during our last liquor store holdup, I promised him I would do anything to make sure you have a good life, and we have had a good life despite my lies.

You: My father?! I’m leaving. I’m never coming back. You piece of shit.


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. You tell me you’re faithful—that you’ll always love me. Ha! You make us dinner? Ha! So does the guy at Arby’s when we go there. Does he love me? You have sex with me? Ha! What do you call sex? Watching “Wheel of Fortune” together? What about the guy that lives in the basement? Bill’s not your brother—I checked—you don’t have a brother. Things are adding up: 1,2,3 get the hell away from me.

2. We’re going to Pasta Palace tonight! I’m going to have the Mountain of Spaghetti with those basketball-sized meatballs, at least two bottles of vino, and the special Holy Cannoli with the plastic lamb on it. I can smell it. I can taste it. Who’s paying for it?


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

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Protherapeia

Protherapeia (pro-ther-a-pei’-a): Preparing one’s audience for what one is about to say through conciliating words. If what is to come will be shocking, the figure is called prodiorthosis.


We take too much for granted. Life seems to go on over the smoothness of our daily routines—called “hum drum” because they drone on, beating out their beat monotonously. But then, in a couple of hours, this morning, the mall burned down: right to the ground. Now, it’s a smoking heap. Who could know? Who would ever believe there would be a riot that put the mall in flames? What started with a small peaceful group protesting the parking lot’s inability to accommodate all shoppers’ cars, turned into the most destructive criminal act in our city’s history. But don’t worry: the perpetrators (mostly from out of town) will be brought to justice and the mall will be rebuilt with a larger parking lot. All will be made well.


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

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Protrope (pro-tro’-pe): A call to action, often by using threats or promises.


If you don’t pick up your clothes, I’m going to take away your phone. I thought you’d learned after the lawn mowing failure incident when I locked you in the garage for a week. But no. Pick up the damn clothes you little bastard! I’ll count to ten and then it’s hand over the phone. 1 . . .


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

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Proverb

Proverb: One of several terms describing short, pithy sayings. Others include adage, apothegm, gnome, maxim, paroemia, and sententia.


“A house divided against itself cannot stand.” Lincoln said this on the eve of the Civil War. As the political polarization in the US continues to evolve, we have to ask where we are going. Although the circumstances of our divisions are different from the Civil War’s, the divisions exist, and they are monumental. If they persist and grow and fester, violence is inevitable. The 1/6 Insurrection is a case in point. I don’t see a remedy.


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

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Prozeugma

Prozeugma (pro-zoog’-ma): A series of clauses in which the verb employed in the first is elided (and thus implied) in the others.


I went into town. To the farmer’s market. To the hardware store. To the library. To the police station, where I turned myself in.

As I was sitting in my cell, I could hear the police laughing and talking about me. They kept saying, “Who’s he trying to kid? There’s no way he did it.” Maybe it was true, but I had woken up with a Box Turtle in my bed and there was urine on my kitchen floor. Also, I couldn’t find my fountain pen or my new stainless steel taco holders. Put it all together and it spells crime. But, when the police finally asked me what I had done that was criminal, I couldn’t tell them.

“Did you kill the mayor?” one of them asked. “No” I answered. They all laughed and one of them to told me to go home, and I did.


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

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Pysma

Pysma (pys’-ma): The asking of multiple questions successively (which would together require a complex reply). A rhetorical use of the question.


Me: How much do you love me? What are our prospects for the future? Would we have children? When would I meet your parents?

You: How did you find me? How did you get in here? What about the order of protection? What about the time you spent jail? Get back, this thing will knock you on your ass. I’m calling the police.


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

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Ratiocination

Ratiocinatio (ra’-ti-o-cin-a’-ti-o): Reasoning (typically with oneself) by asking questions. Sometimes equivalent to anthypophora. More specifically, ratiocinatio can mean making statements, then asking the reason (ratio) for such an affirmation, then answering oneself. In this latter sense ratiocinatio is closely related to aetiologia. [As a questioning strategy, it is also related to erotima {the general term for a rhetorical question}.]


I am the best person for the job. Why? I am a liar. I am loyal. I have a violent streak. I am a racist. But most important, I have been a Conervative all my life.


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

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Repotia

Repotia (re-po’-ti-a): 1. The repetition of a phrase with slight differences in style, diction, tone, etc. 2. A discourse celebrating a wedding feast.


1. Where’s my hammer? Where IS my hammer? C’mon—where is it? The hammer! Where! Look, I have another birdhouse to build. Why are you hiding my hammer? Stop laughing and give me my hammer.

2. I’ve been married 6 times—every one a total failure. Here, today, on your wedding day—on your first wedding day, I wish you more happiness than I ever had, or could have had, as a cheating shagmeister. But men are like that—they cheat, they lie, they break hearts, they yell, they push their wives around, they get divorced.

Whoops! I am so sorry, I got sidetracked there, talking about my loser self. Ray here will love Gloria forever and try his best to make her happy. Of course he’ll lie to Gloria now and again, but I’m pretty sure he won’t cheat. So, together, you should celebrate your love and the good times marriage affords. As a bonus, you’ve got a baby on the way very soon—you’ll get to start your marriage as a family: you’re on a fast track! Most people wait a year.


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

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Restrictio

Restrictio (re-strik’-ti-o): Making an exception to a previously made statement. Restricting or limiting what has already been said.

I told you yesterday that we have to be frugal—save our money and live simply. Well, maybe that’s too money conscious, and anyway, I bought a parrot this morning. So, starting tomorrow, let’s start our frugality campaign. We can start by cancelling all your subscriptions and credit card, and I’ll keep thinking about what I can do, and don’t forget, I’ve got to feed this hungry parrot. Also, I may need to get hm a friend if he gets lonely.

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

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Sarcasmus

Sarcasmus (sar’kaz’-mus): Use of mockery, verbal taunts, or bitter irony.


I have been living with you for two years—oh, I should say “dying” with you. Since you’ve dyed your hair like a-shades-of-shit rainbow, I’ve been looking around the house for your brain so I can stuff it back into your head and maybe make you normal again. I might as well be living with a piece of cheese: a reticent wedge of not so sharp cheddar.

I don’t know what happened to you to throw you so far out of character. Maybe it was falling down the stairs? Maybe it was being hit by a car? Maybe it was catching fire at your birthday party? Maybe it was being attacked by a shark and losing your foot? I don’t know, but I am compassionate. You have a month to find yourself.


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

Buy a print edition of The Daily Trope! The print edition is entitled The Book of Tropes and is available on Amazon for $9.99, and also in a Kindle edition for $5.99.

Scesis Onomaton

Scesis Onomaton (ske’-sis-o-no’-ma-ton): 1. A sentence constructed only of nouns and adjectives (typically in a regular pattern). 2. A series of successive, synonymous expressions.


1. Life good, death bad, high good, low bad, happy good, sad bad. Vexed opposites. Vexed insofar as the qualities of the oppositions are seemingly steady. But it isn’t so. Today, on Memorial Day it is good to be sad: indifference to our military’s sacrifices would be criminal and dancing on their graves would be worse. We are left with gratitude: a sort of sadness (in this case) accompanied by a realization of the goods preserved by their deaths as well as the sorrow felt by families and friends that testifies to their love: the struggle with absence and the unavoidable question: What would they be doing now?

2. Where’s my water pipe? I can’t find my toker stoker. Definitely disappeared. Check the cat’s toy basket. It won’t be the first time that something lost has turned up there. Remember my sock and my car keys?


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

Buy a print edition of The Daily Trope! The print edition is entitled The Book of Tropes and is available on Amazon for $9.99.

Sententia

Sententia (sen-ten’-ti-a): One of several terms describing short, pithy sayings. Others include adage, apothegem, gnome, maxim, paroemia, and proverb.


Somewhere, in strange places, in weird times, in the play of conflict and in the throes of rancor, somebody will say “Actions speak louder than words.” Here’s where the opportunity for conflict escalation opens up. I say, “You just SAID that. Actions don’t speak. Their meanings are interpreted with words. For example, pulling a gun’s trigger and killing somebody is an action. But we need to talk about it to determine whether is was an accident, self defense, or murder.” At this point my conversation partner often waves me off, saying “You are full of crap.”


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

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Simile

Simile (si’-mi-lee): An explicit comparison, often (but not necessarily) employing “like” or “as.”


My preferred character is projected by my speech. It’s like a currently popular catchphrase or a buzz word: I want to utilize incentivization to maximize our leverage in the upcoming negotiations. Ha ha! That’s me! Smart! With it! Learned!

I am constantly masking my rough origins and basic dishonesty with Latinized words. In a way, I am like a brick painted with elaborate images that will eventually be hurled through somebody’s window.


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

Buy a print edition of The Daily Trope! The print edition is entitled The Book of Tropes and is available on Amazon for $9.99. There is also a Kindle edition available.

Skotison

Skotison (sko’-ti-son): Purposeful obscurity.


A: When the used car lot is closed, and the pigeon’s wings are done flapping, I will buy us first class train tickets and we will ride together to the rodeo. Do you understand?

B: More than you will ever know. I am behind the brick wall with my clipboard and carry-on luggage. When the conditions have been met, I will meet you at the station.


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

Buy a print edition of The Daily Trope! The print edition is entitled The Book of Tropes and is available on Amazon for $9.99. There is also a Kindle edition available.

Syllepsis

Syllepsis (sil-lep’-sis): When a single word that governs or modifies two or more others must be understood differently with respect to each of those words. A combination of grammatical parallelism and semantic incongruity, often with a witty or comical effect. Not to be confused with zeugma: [a general term describing when one part of speech {most often the main verb, but sometimes a noun} governs two or more other parts of a sentence {often in a series}].


He caught the high fly ball and a glimpse of his emerging prowess as a ball player. He heard the umpire yell “ouuut” with his stretched out voice. He knew then that this was his home—his life, his fate. Baseball. He carried high hopes and the equipment bag back to the locker room. Could he do it? Could he make it as a baseball player? He would try.


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

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Symploce

Symploce (sim’-plo-see or sim’-plo-kee): The combination of anaphora and epistrophe: beginning a series of lines, clauses, or sentences with the same word or phrase while simultaneously repeating a different word or phrase at the end of each element in this series.


There is a garden of light and life growing in my head.

There is a river of imagery and imagination flowing through my head.

There is never a moment of stillness operative in my head.

There it rages. The protean ooze sloshing in my head.


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

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Synaloepha

Synaloepha (sin-a-lif’-a): Omitting one of two vowels which occur together at the end of one word and the beginning of another. A contraction of neighboring syllables. A kind of metaplasm.


I love you. ‘Bout as much as my poodle, Bill. I do! I know you find it hard to believe. It’s no big deal with me sleeping in the bed with Bill. I got you a blanket and everything for the couch—that’s love! Can you take Bill for a walk?

WHAT!! Bill got off his leash and got hit by a car? He’s dead? Oh my God. Who will share my bed now? Did you just raise your hand? Poor Bill, he didn’t have a chance. I guess you can move your blanket into our room. Bill won’t mind.


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

Buy a print edition of The Daily Trope! The print edition is entitled The Book of Tropes and is available on Amazon for $9.99.

Synathroesmus

Synathroesmus (sin-ath-res’-mus): 1. The conglomeration of many words and expressions either with similar meaning (= synonymia) or not (= congeries). 2. A gathering together of things scattered throughout a speech (= accumulatio [:Bringing together various points made throughout a speech and presenting them again in a forceful, climactic way. A blend of summary and climax.])


Colors, shades, hues, tones, tints: you can’t make up your mind what to slap on the bathroom walls. Pelican pink? Babylon blue? Raw meat red? Gang green? Minced mauve? You have to make a choice and there are countless color options. Reality is what spans color’s spectrum. Without it there would be no indication that anything’s there, aside from tripping over it, colliding with it or stepping on it. So, make a choice. Pick a color. Paint the bathroom, or leave it Poo-poo beige—the color you’ve lived for 15 years: isn’t it time for a change! Isn’t it time to choose? Your bathroom will be reborn. The time you spend there will be better! Do it!


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

Buy a print edition of The Daily Trope! The print edition is entitled The Book of Tropes and is available on Amazon for $9.99.

Synecdoche

Synecdoche (si-nek’-do-kee): A whole is represented by naming one of its parts (or genus named for species), or vice versa (or species named for genus).


What kind of marriage is this? You throw me crumbs. I’m getting ready to ink the bye bye papers. Is that what you want, baby? Do you want to be out there on your own, like Jim Morrison sang, “like a dog without a bone”? All these years, I’ve let you do my laundry, clean the house and service me twice a day. This is what I get? “No” should not be in your vocabulary when it comes to me, baby! These heels are gonna walk right out that door a never return. Is that what you want my little loser? Oh, ooty pooty, did I make you sore?

Hey, who’re those guys coming up the driveway with golf clubs and balaclavas? Where’s my phone? Go and tell them to go away! Stop throwing cookies at me and laughing. Don’t answer the door! Shit!


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

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Synonymia

Synonymia (si-no-ni’-mi-a): In general, the use of several synonyms together to amplify or explain a given subject or term. A kind of repetition that adds emotional force or intellectual clarity. Synonymia often occurs in parallel fashion. The Latin synonym, interpretatio, suggests the expository and rational nature of this figure, while another Greek synonym, congeries, suggests the emotive possibilities of this figure.


Truth, veracity, fact—valorized to the detriment of their opposites, which may come in handy in the fractured prospects of life’s overwhelming complexities. It is always a question, whether to lie, prevaricate, dissemble—to misrepresent the truth—to obscure it with hope and to create a survivable social reality: masking, concealing: hiding a refugee from the authorities, one’s religion from the operators of a latter-day Inquisition, a misdemeanor conviction from 25 years ago.

So, while the truth is always true, always telling it may have grave consequences: it can unjustly hurt, maim, wound or kill if disclosed to evil people.


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

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Synthesis

Synthesis (sin’-the-sis): An apt arrangement of a composition, especially regarding the sounds of adjoining syllables and words.


Below, coral branches create a corridor of color, casting shadows on white and pink sand indented with ripples like sunken dunes. All I can hear is my slow breathing, tuning my body to the slipping currents. There’s more below me that I want to see, but that will have to wait. I lift my head from the water and swim toward shore.


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

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Syntheton

Syntheton (sin’-the-ton): When by convention two words are joined by a conjunction for emphasis.


Hopes and dreams can frame a healthy attitude toward the future—but realize, your hopes may be somebody else’s fears, and your dreams, their nightmares. Proceed accordingly.


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

Buy a print edition of The Daily Trope! The print edition is entitled The Book of Tropes and is available on Amazon for $9.99.

Synzeugma

Synzeugma (sin-zoog’-ma): That kind of zeugma in which a verb joins (and governs) two phrases by coming between them. A synonym for mesozeugma.


Carnality’s echo, faintly detected, denotes the waning presence of life’s obsessions as the wall of its salacious attention softens and Eros is absorbed by time—by years, by life.


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

Buy a print edition of The Daily Trope! The print edition is entitled The Book of Tropes and is available on Amazon for $9.99.