Tag Archives: figure of reference

Epitrope

Epitrope (e-pi’-tro-pe): A figure in which one turns things over to one’s hearers, either pathetically, ironically, or in such a way as to suggest a proof of something without having to state it. Epitrope often takes the form of granting permission (hence its Latin name, permissio), submitting something for consideration, or simply referring to the abilities of the audience to supply the meaning that the speaker passes over (hence Puttenham’s term, figure of reference). Epitrope can be either biting in its irony, or flattering in its deference.

A specific form of epitrope is the (apparent) admission of what is wrong in order to carry your point.

Go ahead and vote for Mr. Romney if you want to!  If you want to send Big Bird to the ostrich farm, if you want Elmo to talk like George Bush, if you want amphibians to be banned from having relationships with pigs, go ahead, vote for Mr.Romney. He’s got a heart of gold.

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