Tag Archives: rhetoric

Anacoluthon

Anacoluthon (an-a-co-lu’-thon): A grammatical interruption or lack of implied sequence within a sentence. That is, beginning a sentence in a way that implies a certain logical resolution, but concluding it differently than the grammar leads one to expect. Anacoluthon can be either a grammatical fault or a stylistic virtue, depending on its use. In either case, it is an interruption or a verbal lack of symmetry. Anacoluthon is characteristic of spoken language or interior thought, and thus suggests those domains when it occurs in writing.


The time is right, the day is long, my socks are too big. Where is my hope—the car won’t start—but the time is still right. Right for nothing, or maybe, reading the car’s owner’s manual which is in German, a language I don’t understand, like religion, or May Day, or lighting a fire, or roasting a chicken. Buck buck ba-dawk-it, not cock-a-doodle poodle! Don’t worry, I’m ok. Just trying to be funny and failing.

Anyway, as I was previously headed to Newark, my foot fell asleep.


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

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Anadiplosis

Anadiplosis (an’-a-di-plo’-sis): The repetition of the last word (or phrase) from the previous line, clause, or sentence at the beginning of the next. Often combined with climax.


Why are there people who refuse to wear masks in this time of pandemic? What motivates these maskless people? People form their opinions about these kinds of things from what they see, hear, and read and perhaps a life-long commitment to resisting or subverting dictates, failing to realize that disobedience implies obedience to whatever dictates their disobedience. One cannot evade obedience.

I am willing to guess that the anti-maskers live their lives in the “anti” lane avowing rationales for their untoward behavior that are couched in higher-order values that, in their views, carry more weight than the values operative in the “mandates” they are resisting. One would think that saving lives and curtailing the pandemic by wearing masks would be the paramount value operative in debates over government mask-wearing mandates, but that’s not the case. The arguments have come down to the government’s right to make and enforce the mask mandates—not the public health aims of the mandates as rationales for their acceptance.

Acceptance of mandates is irksome, but that shouldn’t empower people to reject them as such. The COVID 19 crisis isn’t fabricated—nearly 3 million people have died. I guess if they want to kill a few more people (possibly including themselves) in the name of liberty, go maskless, and while they’re at it, don’t get vaccinated and be remembered as narcissistic sociopaths, not as a champions of liberty.


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

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Anamnesis

Anamnesis (an’-am-nee’-sis): Calling to memory past matters. More specifically, citing a past author [apparently] from memory. Anamnesis helps to establish ethos [credibility], since it conveys the idea that the speaker is knowledgeable of the received wisdom from the past.


Takashi Miike, the Japanese film director, tells us he is “attracted to bad people because they are very human.”

As I continue my quest to understand why people are attracted to Donald Trump, maybe Miike has the answer, maybe not. There’s no doubt that Trump is bad, but I’m sort of at a loss as to see how this makes him “very human” and how being very human, in turn, makes him attractive.

Maybe it’s like “Rebel Without a Cause” or “Leader of the Pack” or Billy the Kid or “White Heat.” It’s the shifting sands of good and evil, and the room evil’s project opens for love’s avowal—love of a certain kind—for what may be bad—loving OxyContin, loving cigars, loving driving fast: there is an endless array of “loves” that are about the gut’s “guilty pleasures” and it’s waiving of the consideration of the full range of consequences in pursuing pleasures, or consuming what is pleasurable.

“Bad” Trump brings pleasures and their affections to life in people who’ve opted into an orgiastic ethic that builds a wall between the present and the future, dwelling on the “taste” of Trump as if he were an ice cream sandwich, a chocolate bar, or a cold beer on a hot summer day, not a moral man with a moral purpose. He is unwilling or unable to pursue the Christian call to affect “faith, hope, and charity.” His faith is a bizarre tangle of selfishness. His hopes are bad hopes: blocking immigrants, ignoring environmental concerns, chipping away at Transgender rights, etc. His charity is directed toward pardoning bad people and promoting other bad people, like Roger Stone or Kelly Conway.

Oh well. If you want to understand Trump’s attractiveness, think of him as an ice cream sandwich, a cannoli, a martini, a fast car, or a giant creme brûlée. He is a guilty pleasure partaken by people whose tongues trump their brains in the battle for their wills.


Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (rhetoric.byu.edu). Gorgias has inserted the bracketed words [apparently] and [credibility].

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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).

Antanagoge

Antanagoge (an’-ta-na’-go-gee): Putting a positive spin on something that is nevertheless acknowledged to be negative or difficult.


So you got 10 years in prison, Dad. All that free time! Wow! Just think of all the friends you’ll make, and the books you’ll have the time read. You’ll finally be able to finish the Tom Swift set that Grandpa gave you for Christmas back in the 60s. Oh! You get to live there for free too! I’m jealous Dad. Maybe I’ll try a little fraud!

And sorry, I’m no good at writing letters, so don’t expect to hear from me, and my unbelievably busy schedule won’t permit me me to visit—after all, I’m Don Junior, one of the smartest in-demand young winners in the world.


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

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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]).


We all know it wasn’t an insurrection. It was, as a matter of fact, just a raucous display of our patriotic fervor. What’s wrong with that? And please, my fellow militia members, I shouldn’t be praised for the minor role I played in making it happen. Buying bear spray in bulk just took a credit card and my pickup truck. The bullhorns were donated by the Russian embassy, and using flag poles as clubs was just a random thought in my motel room the night before. I’m sure glad I could share it with you: it was you who utilized it, cracking a few skulls trying to “Stop the Steal.”

I will fade back into the shadows now, a small part of a big deal, but not a big deal myself. May our one true Christian God bless us and keep us pissed off until we meet again.


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

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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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Antimetathesis

Antimetathesis (an-ti-me-ta’-the-sis): Inversion of the members of an antithesis.


The farther I climbed up, the farther things were down below, but nothing’s up that’s not below—the flowers, the trees upon the earth, below the sky.


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

Antiprospopoeia

Antiprosopopoeia (an-ti-pro-so-po-pe’-i-a): The representation of persons [or other animate beings] as inanimate objects. This inversion of prosopopoeia or personification can simply be the use of a metaphor to depict or describe a person [or other animate being].


It’s Mitch the Glitch—the worn out old shoe from Kentucky! I think it’s time to give him the boot.


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

Antirrhesis

Antirrhesis (an-tir-rhee’-sis): Rejecting reprehensively the opinion or authority of someone.


You have no right to call me your friend. Is leaving me stranded in Salt Lake City what a friend does? Is cleaning out my bank account after you stole my PIN what a friend does? And God—letting all my houseplants die when you “took care” of them while I was in the hospital after you “accidentally” shot me—that’s friendship?

Now you want to borrow my debit card because we’re friends? We are NOT friends! Friends are nice to each other. Friends care about each other. We will never be friends. We are enemies. Get out! Stay away from me! Go ruin somebody else’s life.


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


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Antisagoge

Antisagoge (an-tis-a-go’-gee): 1. Making a concession before making one’s point (=paromologia); 2. Using a hypothetical situation or a precept to illustrate antithetical alternative consequences, typically promises of reward and punishment.

Ok, ok. So I might have overestimated the popularity of my cardboard bicycle, but its point is not about popularity, it’s about making a difference—changing peoples’ view of cardboard. It’s not just for cards any more, with my miracle quick-hardening cardboard construction syrup, we can build a brave new brown paper world—a corrugated utopia with shelter for all, and bicycles too. Just think: Pit mines, plastic pollutants entangling innocent fish, noisy metallic four-wheeled death-crates spewing petrol and carbon-based gasses into the air, castles made of steel and sand—castles costing millions, and millions, and millions, all replaced by clean, cozy, durable cardboard.

Imagine: Welcome to your cardboard mansion. Everything made of light-weight treated cardboard. You’ll even have a cardboard microwave and a cardboard TV, and a cardboard family too (if you want one).

Think about it. Talk about it. Make the change. Join Cardboard Nation. Our slogan: “It’s corrugated for your safety, your future, and your peace of mind.” Our first demonstration project is being erected at Disneyland’s “It’s a Small World.” You know, “fairy tales can come true it can happen to you, if you’re young at heart.” So, don your oxygen tube, and grab your walker! The future is wide open.

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

Antistasis

Antistasis (an-ti’-sta-sis): The repetition of a word in a contrary sense. Often, simply synonymous with antanaclasis.


You broke my heart and now I’m totally broke—no lover, no vodka, no cigarettes. I will see you in hell. Oh, what the hell. Let’s go to Mexico for a couple of days. Maybe we can rekindle the raw emotion that made our relationship worth a damn. Put down the gun, put on some clothes, and put on a smile. Ok? Orbitz awaits.


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

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Antisthecon

Antisthecon (an-tis’-the-con): Substitution of one sound, syllable, or letter for another within a word. A kind of metaplasm: the general term for changes to word spelling.


Have you tried the new Jaruzi? It’s a tub with jets of hot water that boil your jars of fruit preserves. It is made by the people who make hot tubs in France. It’s a great thing to have if you live around raspberries, strawberries, or blueberries. You can make 25 jars of jelly or jam at once! We sell ours on the internet and made $50.00 last year. We hid in our bushes and threw unsold jars at passing cars. It was irresponsible, I know, but I get nesty when things go to hell.

I’ll sell you my Jaruzi for cheap. Maybe I’ll give it to you along with 85 free jars of jam and my raspberry lease and 200 empty jars.


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

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Antithesis

Antithesis (an-tith’-e-sis): Juxtaposition of contrasting words or ideas (often, although not always, in parallel structure).


We tell falsehoods. We tell truths. True and false, like right and wrong, set the boundaries of our being—of who are, who we were and who we will become.

We sit here on this beautiful spring day—in the cool breeze, under the spell of clouds, the blue sky, and the scent of flowers as we grope like moles driven from their burrows by a hard unrelenting rain. We grope for stability—the stability truth affords. But we also grope for the openness of change and thrill of the unknowable where imagination, fiction, and falsehood have free play.

But somewhere between what’s true, what’s imagined, and what’s false is what we believe—what seems probable and seems plausible: the site of opinion: of faith, charity, chances, and wagers.

For example, the neat oppositions between true and false, right and wrong, and all the binaries we consume in our endless search for the end of our search to know and to conquer, places our trust in the sexes’ extremes. Man vs. Woman. At the site of “versus” between the extremes there is a startling array of variations in the markers traditionally used to map biological sex. There is no perfect manifestation of the categories of Man and Woman.

Nevertheless, the drive for categorization is endless. It provides us with vexing anomalies: man, woman, other. It has political implications, surgical implications, and legal implications. I guess we need think in degrees, where the different degrees are not hierarchically arrayed, and the extremes never achieve 100%.


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

There are paperback and Kindle editions of The Daily Trope available on Amazon under the title of The Book of Tropes.

Antitheton

Antitheton (an-tith’-e-ton): A proof or composition constructed of contraries. Antitheton is closely related to and sometimes confused with the figure of speech that juxtaposes opposing terms, antithesis. However, it is more properly considered a figure of thought (=Topic of Invention: Contraries [a topic of invention in which one considers opposite or incompatible things that are of the same kind (if they are of different kinds, the topic of similarity / difference is more appropriate). Because contraries occur in pairs and exclude one another, they are useful in arguments because one can establish one’s case indirectly, proving one’s own assertion by discrediting the contrary]).


Stuffing your face and sucking up a bottle of wine every night isn’t going to make you thinner. In fact, the opposite is the case: you are enlarging. This is the 2nd time this year you’ve outgrown your clothes and had to replace them. Salvation Army loves you. Macy’s loves you. The liquor store loves you.

Pretty soon, you’ll be shopping at the Cow Barn, where everything’s plus-sized and they use styrofoam farm animals for mannequins.

You need to decide which you’re going to be: fat or not fat. There is no two ways about it: it’s one or the other. You can’t be both. That’s what gives you a choice. Let’s go to work on this together.


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

Paperback and Kindle editions of The Daily Trope are available at Amazon under the title of The Book of Tropes.

Apagoresis

Apagoresis (a-pa-gor’-e-sis): A statement designed to inhibit someone from doing something. Often uses exaggeration [or hyperbole] to persuade. It may combine an exaggeration with a cause/effect or antecedent/consequence relationship. The consequences or effects of such a phrase are usually exaggerated to be more convincing.


A: If you keep touching yourself like that, your hand will start to smell like Satan’s butt, you will become a stutterer, and your privates will turn green and melt off. After that, you will die.

It’s not too late!

To begin your renewal, you can wear these touch-proof underpants. They are made of Kevlar and can stop a bullet. For purposes of bathing, and peeing and pooping, one of our church brethren will handcuff you, aim your penis for you, and hose you off. If he sees you somehow touching yourself, he is authorized to give you a shot of “electro-ball therapy.” It is what it sounds like, only it’s worse.

Well, what do you say?

B: If you are for real, I’m calling the police. You and your “congregation” are a bunch of sadistic weirdos.

A: Smell your hand.


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

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Aphaeresis

Aphaeresis (aph-aer’-e-sis): The omission of a syllable or letter at the beginning of a word. A kind of metaplasm.


I shot out the clip of my ‘andgun and threw it in the pond. No more guns for me. I don’t care if I can’t ‘fend myself like that kid in the grocery who fought off 10 innocent unarmed people with his AK. I’m being sarcastic. My heart is broken. We must ban assault weapons tomorrow.


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

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Aphorismus

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


Love? What? You “love” ice cream? Ice cream is a sweetened liquid that you eat with a spoon. Save your love for your family and friends. The affection you have for ice cream is misplaced: love is a two-way street, a mutual affection. I don’t think you can love a thing, no matter how yummy it is.

Use that word carefully. Alongside hate, love may be the most important, and misused, word in the English language. It isn’t healthy to call your desire for, and enjoyment of material objects and processes, love.


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

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Apocarteresis

Apocarteresis (a-po-car-ter’-e-sis): Casting of all hope away from one thing and placing it on another source altogether.


Lotto, Lotto, Lotto. All these years, and I have never won a penny. My “Dollar and a dream” is about a thousand bucks and a nightmare. I am sick of losing. I don’t know why I haven’t quit already. You guessed it—no more running to the convenience store on Fridays. No more angrily tearing up those losing tickets.

I quit!

I have got a new 21st-century modern-day plan: on-line slots! Instead of playing once a week, I can play all the time on my laptop! It is clear to me: the more often I play, the greater the chances I’ll win! I don’t know why I didn’t come up with this plan sooner. It’s like having Las Vegas everywhere in my house, except the basement, where I don’t have wi-fi reception.


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

Paperback and Kindle editions of The Daily Trope are available at Amazon under the title The Book of Tropes.