Tag Archives: examples

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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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).

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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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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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Tapinosis

Tapinosis (ta-pi-no’-sis): Giving a name to something which diminishes it in importance.


Where did you get that ping-pong table hanging on the wall? Turn it on so we can watch the last episode of Dallas, or maybe the security cam in the Wal-Mart parking lot.


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

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Thaumasmus

Thaumasmus (thau-mas’-mus): To marvel at something rather than to state it in a matter of fact way.


It was like a big black hubcap with holes in it hovering over my yard. I had never seen anything like it, silently hanging there, looking at me. I gave it the finger and it flew away. Amazing! Too much! Unbelievable!

Later that day I received an email with a photo of me attached, giving the finger. It was blackmail! You see, I’m a Baptist preacher. Giving the finger is out of bounds. I should’ve known. Ever since I called him out in front of the congregation for cutting back on his tithing, Porky Jones has been out to get me. Somebody let the air out of my tires. Somebody smeared dog poop on my front door. Somebody burned “I heart Satan” into my front lawn.

I had to do something—it was out of hand. I decided to contact my buddy Wild Man Piply from my Army days. He had no soul, so there was nothing there to save. But I had saved his butt too many times to remember: pulled out of pistol fights in sprawling Saigon whorehouses. Loaning him endless cash to cover his gambling debts in totally rigged Saigon casinos. Helping him get out of a scrape over a stolen Jeep. If anybody would help me and keep his mouth shut it was Wild Man Piply.


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

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Tmesis

Tmesis (tmee’-sis): Interjecting a word or phrase between parts of a compound word or between syllables of a word.


No more mask. I got my shot so I’m not worrying too much—just a little. This whole thing has been a constant front page buzz—a pan-damn-demic all around the world—nobody spared the possibility of contracting it. We were bolted into our homes going nuts consuming every inch of news—unless we had to work: that was like jumping out of a foxhole and charging the enemy every day. At least we didn’t have to deal with rat flea fever.

We never imagined that this late in the world’s adventure we’d get a plague from cute little Pangolins and have a President who didn’t give a damn if we all died. Thank God we got rid of him, even if he tried to steal the election and overthrow our Democracy. I bid him good riddance along with THE DISEASE. Birds of a feather.


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

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Topograhpia

Topographia (top-o-graf’-i-a): Description of a place. A kind of enargia [: {en-ar’-gi-a} generic name for a group of figures aiming at vivid, lively description].


She clicked her heels together and said, “There’s no place like Olive Garden.” For some bizarre reason she expected to be transported to the ersatz piece of Italy hunkered in the mall: the epitome of coopted culture draped in a death-defying stereotype embroidered with profit-making glitz.

All the salad you can eat—oh, what an inauthentic touch! Olive Garden doesn’t even meet the standards of a low-budget movie set. From entry to exit—from the plaster portico to the plastic grapes, it’s a middle class muddle of layer fake.


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

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Traductio

Traductio (tra-duk’-ti-o): Repeating the same word variously throughout a sentence or thought. Some authorities restrict traductio further to mean repeating the same word but with a different meaning (see ploce, antanaclasis, and diaphora), or in a different form (polyptoton). If the repeated word occurs in parallel fashion at the beginnings of phrases or clauses, it becomes anaphora; at the endings of phrases or clauses, epistrophe.


I couldn’t stop laughing—laughing at the road sign, laughing at the dirty windows, laughing at my laughter like some meta-comic critic assessing “funny’s” final stand. This was beyond funny. It was hilarious. I shouldn’t have left her laughing by the side of the road, but she was eclipsing me, she put me in the shadows, she made me mad. I guess I better go back and pick her up and see if she’s still laughing. If she is, I may run her down.


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

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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.

Hurry up, wait, damn! I can’t make up my mind about anything any more. My choice-making has become a disaster. Yesterday, I started out for the Doctor’s and ended up in a gas station rest room washing my face mask in the sink. This morning, I watched Fox News! What the hell is next? Leave the country by mistake? Shave my head? Awful, awful, awful! I need help!

Hey! Give me back my car keys!

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

I went to the the Blue Boat Bar, and I met a beautiful woman, and I fed her some drinks, and I asked her to go home with me, and she laughed at me and called me pathetic. I don’t even know what “pathetic” means. I guess that makes me pathetic.

All my friends get girls all the time. I’m going to follow one of my friends, and spy on him, and learn his technique, and try it myself! He hangs out at the “Perfumed Sweatshirt.” It costs $60 to get in, but he’s met a lot of girls there. I’m going to disguise myself as a refrigerator repairman so he won’t recognize me, and see how it goes. I wonder if I should carry a toolbox and maybe a can of refrigerant.


Definitions 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.


SCOTCH

Smooth

Captivating

Oasis,

Truly

Cast

Heavenly


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).


We hold a lot of meetings. We gather like a small herd of cows. Cows don’t fight. Cows don’t argue. They are content. But, when you throw a bale of hay on the table, things change: there is a lot of loud mooing and jostling.


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 am tired of wearing this damn mask, but I am keeping it on because I don’t want get sick, or make anybody else sick.

It is nearly impossible to believe the immature self-righteous ignorance of people refusing to wear a mask! Citing the First Amendment as a reason is like saying that knowingly communicating an STD and infecting another person is an exercise of the transmitter’s First Amendment rights. Bizarre.


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.


John: Who the hell do you think you are! You’ve crawled into my consciousness like some kind of space worm. I can feel you squirming around in there, it’s my head, my mind you’re playing with.

Jane: Did you take your medication? Sometimes the space worms will crawl in your ears when you’re asleep and you didn’t take your pill before you went to bed.

John: Bullshit! I can hear the worms when I look in your closet. You’re raising them and planting your squirmy little pets in my head so you can listen in on my thoughts; so they can tell you what I’m thinking about! And no, I didn’t take my medication. I forgot and your worms sneaked in. Goddamn you!

Jane: Here, take this pill. It will chase the worms out of your head.

John: Like hell It will. Stick it! Flush it!

Jane: Here, have this piece of cheesecake. It’s your favorite. Remember? Don’t chew it—the flavor comes from swishing it around in your mouth and then swallowing it.

John: Oooh. You found my soft spot—New York cheesecake. This will make me feel better—it never fails. We can deal with the damn mind worms later. Mmmm.


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

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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 goin’ to hell faster ‘n anybody could ever think. Stick up men, we having what we want for taking it—pull her out of the cash register, shoot the clerk, and drive off. GPS says there’s a gas station up ahead. Better lock and load Johnny. We need a fill up.


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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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).

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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