Tag Archives: figures of speech

Dialogismus

Dialogismus (di-a-lo-giz’-mus): Speaking as someone else, either to bring in others’ points of view into one’s own speech, or to conduct a pseudo-dialog through taking up an opposing position with oneself.

Speaker takes on Trump’s persona: “I’m Don the con and that rhymes with Don the moron. America is loaded with fools–that’s anybody who voted for me, including myself. Ha Ha! I’m so happy to have my daughter doing nothing for a half-million a year in taxpayer money. And her husband: what a piece of work; bringing peace to Israel when he does not even know where the conflict is. He keeps asking me what a Palestine is.”

Speaker goes back to own persona: “That’s the way it is folks. Sad but true. If he gets reelected it will get worse. It will be his permission slip to wreak havoc on the United States and everything it has ever stood for and everything we continue to strive for.”

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

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Effictio

Effictio (ef-fik’-ti-o): A verbal depiction of someone’s body, often from head to toe.

Note: This figure was used in forensic rhetoric (legal argumentation) for purposes of clearly identifying an alleged criminal. It has often been adapted to poetical uses.

His dyed blond hair is frozen by hairspray into a combination of a rolling wave and a Dairy Queen. His face and tiny hands are covered with bronzing cream making them look like a too-thick cadaver paint job performed by an angry mortician. His eyes are dull blue like spun aluminum moon hubcaps from the sixties. His mouth looks like a banana, peeled, cut sideways, and dyed with Red Dye 40. His teeth look like stunted piano keys superglued to his gums. His neck has a turkey wattle that swings in the wind. In calm weather it looks like labia. His loosely fitting white golf shirt can’t hide his robust boobs with little man-sized nipples pointing the way to the next faux pas. His watermelon belly is suggestive of an early pregnancy. He has an ass the size of North Carolina. It sticks out at right angles to his back. It actually provides a shelf that nobody dares to set anything on except envelopes filled with cash. His penis has been characterized as a “little mushroom” however there is some controversy over whether it looks more like a little toadstool. Having never seen it myself, I can’t say one way or the other, but I think “mushroom” is probably more accurate, given the source. In any event, “little” is the operative term. Legs and feet are what you would expect: legs like flabby gyros ready for the rotating spit; feet a bone spur museum curated by a crooked doctor from New York: try to find the bone spurs.

All-in-all this man’s appearance is a parody of Charles Atlas, the famous 1960s body builder whose image plagues old men with his tanned bodily perfection; old men who never made the mark.

Who is this man who still longs for the Charles Atlas look–who unsuccessfully uses hair and skin dye to approximate his boyhood hope? Who is unable to do anything below his neck to camouflage his failure? He is the President of the United States, Donald Trump.

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

Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (rhetoric.byu.edu) Buy a print version of The Daily Trope! The print version is titled The Book of Tropes and is available on Amazon for $9.99. There is also a Kindle edition available for $5.99.

Ellipsis

Ellipsis (el-lip’-sis): Omission of a word or short phrase easily understood in context.

Never a borrower . . . Get my drift? I can’t believe you want to bid on one of Mick Jagger’s cigarette butts from the sixties. Next you’re going buy a chunk of Jerry Lee Lewis’ ear wax. Be crazy if you want to be, but I’m not paying for it, even though you call it a loan. You still haven’t paid me back the money you borrowed for the Chuck Berry auction where you managed to get a pair of his underpants for $300.00. I loaned you $500.00 for that psychotic episode. So, fool me once . . . Got it? Never again. Not a penny.

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

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Enallage

Enallage (e-nal’-la-ge): The substitution of grammatically different but semantically equivalent constructions.

We try harder than we’d like to admit. Overdone? Over-stressed? Broken like a little toy plastic car crushed by a careless foot on the way to the kitchen. The kitchen: oriented toward satisfying the stomach. Peanut butter. Olives. Canned tuna. Beer. Potato chips. Endless condiments. Cheese. Fake sour cream. Pasta, pasta, pasta. Rice. All there in the Kitchen. A community of food drunk, chewed and swallowed: disappearing in the darkness of the oral cavity, slurped, and torn and ground, by practical teeth that can bite and chew.

What do I care. What. Do I care? I have a knife that slices and dices. I have sliced but I’ve never diced. Why do I crawl to you? Why do I talk to you? Why do I sacrifice myself to you? We mark time by the shit you put me through. Your belly is soft, my thoughts are cruel. It’s the knife that talks to me–that moves my hand.

It’s the hydroxychloroquine. They warned me it could make me psychotic. I didn’t listen. I wanted an easy way around the pandemic. It’s all your fucking fault with your hand washing and your mask. See this? It will cure you of everything once and for all. Shut up: you look like a hula girl, like an egg, like a beautiful flower. You are so red, like a strawberry, like ketchup, like a piece of yarn woven into the cross on a Crusader’s tunic.

I am lost. I am tired. Don’t follow me to bed.

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

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Ennoia

Ennoia (en-no’-i-a): A kind of purposeful holding back of information that nevertheless hints at what is meant. A kind of circuitous speaking.

Me: Two days ago, I looked outside and noticed the lawn is getting green! Yesterday, it looked like it grew a couple of inches. Today, it is ankle high. Soon, it’ll be up to my knees.

I love watching you ride your lawn limo around the yard with the grass flying out the side. I wish I could do more than just watch the videos I made of you mowing last summer.

You: Ok, I get it. I’ll mow the lawn.

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

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Enthymeme

Enthymeme (en’-thy-meem): 1. The informal method [or figure] of reasoning typical of rhetorical discourse. The enthymeme is sometimes defined as a “truncated syllogism” since either the major or minor premise found in that more formal method of reasoning is left implied. The enthymeme typically occurs as a conclusion coupled with a reason. When several enthymemes are linked together, this becomes sorites. 2. A figure of speech which bases a conclusion on the truth of its contrary. [Depending on its grammatical structure and specific word choice, it may be chiasmus].

1. We’ve been up for 22 hrs straight. Let’s get some sleep.

2. If work wears you down, time off will help build you up again!

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

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Hendiadys

Hendiadys (hen-di’-a-dis): Expressing a single idea by two nouns [joined by a conjunction] instead of a noun and its qualifier. A method of amplification that adds force.

I’m tired and beat to the ass. We’ve been driving three days nonstop. I don’t think our dog having puppies back home is that big a deal. We could’ve watched it on Skype and encouraged her. And how can your mother predict five days before that the puppies are on the way? Sounds sketchy to me. They are nutty and crazy and I wouldn’t put it past them to pull some weirdness just to get us to come home early. I need to pull over and rest, or why don’t you drive for awhile? We’re almost there.

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

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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.])

I am alone, solo, unitary, solitary. My shadow casts but one figure–a lonely stick shading the floor. I am I and that’s it. The door is open and she is gone. I am baffled, a little happy, a little sad, angry, but filled with hope that she’ll be back. But my hope is ill-founded. I am kidding myself, but I’m not laughing.

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.

We had a way with waves, riding on the surly sea like answers to questions or words wrought to rhyme.

The ocean overlaps the sand and we slide onto the beach, each one of us grateful for the ride. Now its time to light a fire, feel the warmth, have a swig of wine and passionately wish this time won’t end.

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.

So, you’re still a fan of the New York Tinies? They used to be giants, now they’re ants. Give it up. 

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

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Tricolon

Tricolon (tri-co-lon): Three parallel elements of the same length occurring together in a series.

The tree had fallen. My house was crushed. My insurance had lapsed.

Now, what would I do?

I packed what I could in my truck. I backed out of the driveway without looking. I got hit by a bulldozer pushing branches.

No car insurance. No common sense. No Plan B.

Damn. Crap. Hell.

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

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Abating

Abating: English term for anesis: adding a concluding sentence that diminishes the effect of what has been said previously. The opposite of epitasis (the addition of a concluding sentence that merely emphasizes what has already been stated. A kind of amplification).

Your haircut is very stylish. Too bad that the ‘style’ is somewhere between a terrier tonsure and a vulture mullet!

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

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Abbaser

Abbaser [George] Puttenham’s English term for tapinosis. Also equivalent to meiosis: reference to something with a name disproportionately lesser than its nature (a kind of litotes: deliberate understatement, especially when expressing a thought by denying its opposite).

Nice death rock–how many people died from the civil wars your big sparkly stone and others like it have afforded? Or, maybe your fiancé checked its point of origin? Anyway, it signifies your engagement–but possibly your engagement in something far more sinister than you imagined when your future spouse slipped it on your finger.

If there’s no way of telling whether it has blood on it, you should give it back. Otherwise, every time you look at it, you may see murder and mayhem, rape and starvation rather than love and building a beautiful future together.

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

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Accismus

Accismus (ak-iz’-mus): A feigned refusal of that which is earnestly desired.

Don: A Nobel Prize nomination? Oh–I don’t deserve it. I am but a humble public servant. Saving the world is simply a part of my job description along with cheating on the First Lady, winning the Korean War, separating babies from their mothers at the Mexican border, and collecting pictures of Mother Pence bending over.

I’m just doing my job. Thanks anyway. However, if you can’t find anybody else, give my attorney Rudy a call. He’s not too bright, but he knows how to use a cellphone.

Nobel: Sorry for the confusion Don. It’s your son Don Jr. who has received a nomination for his work as a ‘Get Hillary’ collaborator with a Russian operative at one of your hotels.

Don: What? My son is a marginally functional idiot! I make him look like the hair gel addict he really is!

Nobel: Again, sorry for the mix-up Don. The bottom line is that you did not receive a nomination and it is probably because there is no reason to nominate you, given your track record as President so far–you know, sparking trade wars with most of the world and driving US farmers and factories out of business, nominating a known torturer to run CIA, spending $80,000,000 on a military parade when veterans are living in the streets, pulling out of the Paris Agreement, taking money from the Children’s Health Insurance Program, declaring open season on Grizzly bears, scrapping the Trans-Pacific Partnership, and more!

Don: Ok Nobel, that does it. I’m taking you down–you and your two-bit awards are going to disappear.  It will be dynamite–ha ha–when we invade your stupid little commie country and bomb the hell out of Stockholm–maybe even drop the ‘Big  One’ on one of your commie hospitals. I’m calling Ollie North right now! He commands my elite private NRA army and will gladly commit its cache of semi-automatic assault weapons and nearly moronic members to the cause! Beware!

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

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Acervatio

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.

Go, hurry, move it! Don’t stop now! Let’s end debate and vote on the insane immigration policy before King Pee Wee Brain changes his mind again about the direction the country should be headed. I know it may be a mistake, but having the NRA work together with ICE to police hapless immigrants and elderly homeless people might just make the USA a better place–a better place than what, I don’t know. Maybe an overflowing septic tank or the surface of Mars? However it does not matter: in order to keep the party intact and mini-brain in office we have to make it look like there is strong consensus on everything coming forward–a consensus that squares with turtle brain’s dimwitted hopes. So–move it, move it, move it!

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

He told us he did not pay the hush money and it was his lawyer who had all the answers, and then his new lawyer told us he has paid the money, and then he told us he did’t pay the money, and then he told us he paid the money, and his new lawyer told us he may have paid tons more than first disclosed to more women to shut them up. At that point he shut up. Did he pay himself to shut himself up? You’ll have to ask his lawyer Rudy, who seems to be a little stupid. But is he stupid like a fox? I don’t think so. I think he’s stupid like a duck.

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

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Acoloutha

Acoloutha: The substitution of reciprocal words; that is, replacing one word with another whose meaning is close enough to the former that the former could, in its turn, be a substitute for the latter. This term is best understood in relationship to its opposite, anacoloutha.

Donald was eating really fast. The food was quickly headed to the cavern under his belt called Belly. Belly ruled Donald’s life and it showed in the upwardly changing size of his presidential pants. Donald was worried that he was becoming fatter than the North Korean dictator and that he would soon lose a key point of ridicule at the negotiating table: Little Fat Boy–what he planned to call him–to cow him and make him pliable. But now, Donald was becoming Big Fat Boy: how he loved KFC; more than he loved his wife and daughter, Sean Hannity and Vlad Putin put together.

“This is an emergency” he said to his new physician Admiral Dr. Frankenstiner. The Doctor grimly nodded and turned on his fettabsaugung–a fat sucking machine made in the Black Forest in a former Cuckoo clock factory.

Donald cried out in pain as his fat oozed from the machine and dripped onto the floor. Dr. Frakenstiner said “A handgun won’t do you much good now Fat Man.”

The doctor’s face mask fell off. It was the North Korean Dictator! He had a sock stuffed with kimchi. He stuffed it into Donald’s mouth. Donald began chewing furiously–like a monkey with a piece of candy.

It was all to no avail. North Korea has annexed Oregon and Donald is nursing a broken jaw. Donald lamented: “If I could’ve spoken more clearly through the sock and kimchi, Oregon would still be ours. Ceding Oregon to North Korea is a pretty bad thing, but not as bad as Obama when he . . . “

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 must ask: Why didn’t Trump attend former First Lady Bush’s funeral? It must’ve been his golfing. He is trying to improve it and any time spent away from the golf course leads to slippage. 

Also, he may have wanted to avoid a lengthy conversation with former President Obama and his former First Lady.

Additionally, he probably wanted Melania there alone so she could ‘shine’ in her own right as the extremely amazing current First Lady she is.

All good reasons for hunkering down a Mar-a-lago: SO Presidential.

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

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Adnominatio

Adnominatio (ad-no-mi-na’-ti-o): 1. A synonym for paronomasia [punning].  2. A synonym for polyptoton.  3. Assigning to a proper name its literal or homophonic meaning.

1. The mathematician had Pi for dinner: he wasn’t hungry and wanted to work on a perplexing problem with a circle.

2. When he said “I can” I had no idea he was talking about preserving vegetables. So, there’s a difference between canning and coulding! If you could can, you can can (without dancing the can-can).

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

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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.

Let’s go out to dinner. I’m not hungry right now, but I want to ‘hit the town’ tonight. Also, you haven’t had a night off from cooking in a couple of weeks. We can go some place that’s good and cheap too. I know just the place–they’ve sold trillions of hamburgers and they’re right down the street. After dinner we can take a walk around the block. It’ll be just like a date! I can feel the romance building already!

Put on your shoes. We’re going out!

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.

Kelly: You fired another cabinet member! How are we supposed to maintain a level of professionalism with a revolving back door on the White House?

I’m beginning to think you do what you do simply because you want to do it. No thought given to consequences. No thought given to the welfare of the people of the United States–just you’re own self-absorbed pettiness and complete lack of foresight.

In short Mr. President, you’re ruining the United States.  You’re a disaster worse than Mount St. Helens, Deepwater Horizon, and Hurricane Katrina combined.

You should do the right thing.

Trump: You’re fired. I can’t tolerate crybabies, and you are the biggest crybaby in the White House. You’re a whiner like all the other Generals and Admirals you hang out with. Pack your garbage and get out of my White House.

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

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Allegory

Allegory (al’-le-go-ry): A sustained metaphor continued through whole sentences or even through a whole discourse.

There once was a large man with a clownish blond hairdo. His hair was pasted to the sides of his head and the middle part swirled like a Dairy Queen; more like a yellow scoop of mashed potatoes resting on his head than actual hair.

This man was Emperor and nobody imitated his hair. Well, when they did imitate it, the hair was more like a parody: exaggerated like a Matterhorn with wings resting on his head, ready to fly away from Switzerland to France.

In fact, none of the Emperor’s cherished quirks were imitated anywhere throughout the kingdom. When he was crowned, Diet Coke’s stock plunged, seemingly because it was his favorite beverage and people refused to drink it any more. When it was disclosed that he loved red meat, three-quarters of the Kingdom became vegetarian. When it was discovered that he has a fondness for prostitutes, pimps were left to fend for themselves as the Kingdom’s men gave up whoring.

The Emperor was befuddled, thinking that he was worthy of imitation on all fronts because he was the Emperor. But he was wrong. ‘The shoe didn’t fit so the people didn’t wear it‘: no matter how much power you have, barring death threats, arrest, torture, imprisonment, and execution the ‘people’ will make the right choices.

No Dairy Queen hair. No Diet Coke. No red meat. No prostitutes. No problem.

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)].

You was the craziest person I ever knew. Where there was lots of herd, you dove right in. You was a rustler’s rustler. You taken everything in sight worth taking–as long as it mooed and look at you with those solemn brown eyes. You would make them cows a pets–all of them–if we didn’t have to make a living the hard way.

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

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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.

There has to be at least two sides to that broken bicycle’s end.  You see, if you look at it from the front, it has a small dent in the front forks. If you look at it from the rear, it’s brake has been unbolted and is ready to fall to the ground.  If you look at the front and the rear, there’s a problem that we shouldn’t even be talking about! Let’s just say, the bicycle belongs to the end of the day–we’ll have the junkman come a get it in the morning.

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]

Who is going to tell Trump to “tear down that wall”? Well, the wall isn’t built yet and maybe it never will be built. In that case, “the world will be a better place for you and me, you just wait and see!”  But, I’ll still “be on the pavement thinking about the government.” Why? I’ve “walked forty-seven miles of barbed wire” to get to this place, and I’m not going to let “some stupid with a flare gun” burn my dreams to the ground!

1. Phonetic transcription courtesy of Miriam-Webster’s On-Line Dictionaryhttp://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 met my wife in the kitchen in her apron. I shouldn’t have put it on, but I wanted to know how it looked and how it felt to wear one. She was delighted and wanted to know when she was going to have a crack at my wingtips.

I think we’re going to learn a lot about each other by trading clothing. Since she’s going for my wingtips, I’m going to go for her high-heels. She has a pair of black suede spikes that I’ve had my eye on for nearly a year.

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

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