Tag Archives: public speaking

Isocolon

Isocolon (i-so-co’-lon): A series of similarly structured elements having the same length. A kind of parallelism.

I drove. I parked. I shopped. I dropped.

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

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. Wild nights, bleary mornings, sunburned days. Spring break !

2. I have your best interests close to my heart. There is nothing I wouldn’t do for you. The sky’s the limit. Just ask.

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

Polyptoton

Polyptoton (po-lyp-to’-ton): Repeating a word, but in a different form. Using a cognate of a given word in close proximity.

Lovers love loving and being loved.

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

Enallage

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

Government service is not a vocation–it’s an executive management position. It’s a job! The President is the CEO of the United States of America.

I want to be CEO of the United States of America! CEO of the United States of America is what I want to be!

I’ve been there! I’ve made lots of money! Economic virtues are political virtues. Make me your Capitalist-in-Chief!

Hire me! Vote for me! Invest in me! America’s stock will climb!

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

Simile

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

That candidate’s position on unemployment is like a parking lot out in the middle of the desert: empty and useless.

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

Comparatio

Comparatio (com-pa-ra’-ti-o): A general term for a comparison, either as a figure of speech or as an argument. More specific terms are generally employed, such as metaphorsimileallegory, etc.

That painting looks like a baloney sandwich that was run over by a truck.

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

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. They’re going to keep telling you that my economic policies have failed. I’m going to keep telling you that they have failed to adopt my economic policies. How can something that’s never been tried fail?

2. What’s done is done. We are dead, but we will not be forgotten. Onward!

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

Procatalepsis

Procatalepsis (pro-cat-a-lep’-sis): Refuting anticipated objections.

You will say it is too expensive. They will say it is impractical. Everybody will say it is unjust. I say it is cheap, easy, and fair. Now, I’m going to tell you why. First . . .

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

Epizeuxis

Epizeuxis (e-pi-zook’-sis): Repetition of words with no others between, for vehemence or emphasis.

Spend, spend, spend! Bills, bills, bills! We’re broke, but we had a lot of fun getting here! Let’s have a garage sale and buy some lotto tickets with the money we make!

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

Adage

Adage (ad’-age): One of several terms describing short, pithy sayings, or traditional expressions of conventional wisdom. [Others include apothegm, gnome, maxim, paroemia, proverb, sententia, and anamnesis {a related figure}]

A chain is only as strong as its weakest link.

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

Epitheton

Epitheton (e-pith’-e-ton): Attributing to a person or thing a quality or description-sometimes by the simple addition of a descriptive adjective; sometimes through a descriptive or metaphorical apposition.  (Note: If the description is given in place of the name, instead of in addition to it, it becomes antonomasia or periphrasis.)

Ricky is a rogue bulldozer.

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

Polyptoton

Polyptoton (po-lyp-to’-ton): Repeating a word, but in a different form. Using a cognate of a given word in close proximity.

Promotions promote employee morale (as long as the people who’re promoted obviously deserve the recognition).

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

Aphorismus

Aphorismus (a-phor-is’-mus): Calling into question the proper use of a word.

They call it an accident. We call it criminal negligence. We’re waiting for the indictments.

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

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).

His new job is great, but it keeps him away from his family and friends.

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

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]).

So I swam across the English Channel in a business suit–it’s not like I walked across!

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

Aganactesis

Aganactesis (ag’-an-ak-tee’-sis): An exclamation proceeding from deep indignation.

Your lies, phony excuses, insincerity, and all-around disgusting failure to meet the basic expectations set for honesty, openness, and due diligence in any position of leadership, let alone yours, prompts me and everybody else with a conscience to call for your immediate resignation. Liar! Fool! Fake! Step down! Get out! Go home!

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

Apocope

Apocope (a-pok’-o-pe): Omitting a letter or syllable at the end of a word. A kind of metaplasm.

Letter t omitted: He was an hon-es nuisance!

Final syllable cle omitted: He could bi-cy from here to outer space on that old ten-speed!

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

Barbarism

Barbarism (bar’-bar-ism): The use of nonstandard or foreign speech (see cacozelia); the use of a word awkwardly forced into a poem’s meter; or unconventional pronunciation.  Like solecisms (elements of speech or writing that are incorrect grammatically), barbarisms are possible according to each of the four categories of change (addition, subtraction, transposition, substitution).

Addition, subtraction, transposition, and substitution comprise the four categories of change. These are fundamental rhetorical strategies for the manipulation and variation of discourse across a vast array of linguistic levels: word forms, sentences, paragraphs, entire texts or speeches, etc.

Addition: Today he is happy-ay!

Subtraction: I’m sad and he’s happ, specially when he’s took my bap!

Transposition: Happy was he.

Substitution: He was happy and so too was his pet weasel.

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

Metaplasm

Metaplasm (met’-a-plazm): A general term for orthographical figures (changes to the spelling of words). This includes alteration of the letters or syllables in single words, including additions, omissions, inversions, and substitutions. Such changes are considered conscious choices made by the artist or orator for the sake of eloquence or meter, in contrast to the same kinds of changes done accidentally and discussed by grammarians as vices (see barbarism). See: antisthecon, aphaeresis, apocope, epenthesis (example below: the addition of a letter, sound, or syllable to the middle of a word), paragoge, synaloepha.

Metaplasms are fanlastastic!

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

Epexegesis

Epexegesis (ep-ex-e-ge’-sis): When one interprets what one has just said. A kind of redefinition or self-interpretation (often signaled by constructions such as “that is to say…”).

This is going to be a lot more difficult than we expected–that is to say, we’re going to have to outsource at least six key functions in order to get the job done.

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

Euphemismus

Euphemismus (eu-phe-mis’-mus): Substituting a more favorable for a pejorative or socially delicate term.

With deep sadness, I must tell you all, that this morning at 6:45, our beloved friend and mentor went on to a better place.

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

Maxim

Maxim (max’-im): One of several terms describing short, pithy sayings. Others include adage, apothegm, gnome, paroemia, proverb, and sententia.

“Where the river is deepest it makes the least sound.”

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

Paroemia

Paroemia (pa-ri’-mi-a): One of several terms describing short, pithy sayings. Others include adage, apothegm, gnome, maxim, proverb, and sententia.

“It’s hard to make a comeback when you haven’t been anywhere.”

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

Gnome

Gnome (nome or no’mee): One of several terms describing short, pithy sayings. Others include adage, apothegm, maxim, paroemia, proverb, and sententia.

Liars are the loneliest people in the world.

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

Ecphonesis

Ecphonesis (ec-pho-nee’-sis): An emotional exclamation.

Wow! What a beautiful day!

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