Tag Archives: scheme


Synecdoche (si-nek’-do-kee): A whole is represented by naming one of its parts (or genus named for species), or vice versa (or species named for genus).

What kind of marriage is this? You throw me crumbs. I’m getting ready to ink the bye bye papers. Is that what you want, baby? Do you want to be out there on your own, like Jim Morrison sang, “like a dog without a bone”? All these years, I’ve let you do my laundry, clean the house and service me twice a day. This is what I get? “No” should not be in your vocabulary when it comes to me, baby! These heels are gonna walk right out that door a never return. Is that what you want my little loser? Oh, ooty pooty, did I make you sore?

Hey, who’re those guys coming up the driveway with golf clubs and balaclavas? Where’s my phone? Go and tell them to go away! Stop throwing cookies at me and laughing. Don’t answer the door! Shit!

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

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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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Systrophe (si’-stro-fee): The listing of many qualities or descriptions of someone or something, without providing an explicit definition.

He had tiny hands. They looked like chicken feet sticking out of his shirtsleeves. His lips were almost always puckered–not like he had eaten something bitter, but rather, as if he were sucking a straw and couldn’t get anything to come through it. It was like he looked mad, frustrated and thirsty all at once; maybe like a baby whose ba-ba nipple was malfunctioning. Post-pucker, he would throw his little chicken-feet hands around in no discernible gesture–maybe flailing, definitely not waving. His blond hair was stiffly coifed around his head like an amusement park ride called “Shellac Mountain” with hidden tunnels bypassing his bald flesh and buttressed against the wind’s revelation of the cosmetic circus playing beneath the surface of his hair.

This man wants us to believe he is worth a shit. Some people swear by him like he is Jesus Christ. Many of us just piss our pants or vomit dreading his continued presence in our lives. But some of us are immune to his idiocy having been inoculated with facts and learned opinions. We are biding our time. There will be a judgment day and it isn’t spelled Armageddon.

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

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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.





Trusted since the beginning of civilization.

Helps combat injustice.

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

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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 days are numbered–like a clock ticking out my hopes. But–just because I have a time finite here on the planet, it does not mean that tomorrow is not another day!

I think I may be good for another 30 or 40 years. Given my age already, that’s a lot of years, but what the hell, I like to hope BIG. It’s a great way of stifling worry and stifled worry is worth more than I can say, especially when the stifling is effortless! Another day tomorrow is. I’m betting on being there.

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

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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.

We have another Szandal! Or, more clearly a continuation of an ongoing debacle–Dominus Trumpiscum and the Stormy Porn Star (mouth shut for $130,000) apparently had some kind of sex together–her account makes it missionary, his, makes it nothing (the usual denial). Stormy also says that she “almost choked” on Trumpiscum’s well arranged hair–it was the cinnamon-flavored hairspray that almost did her in. She said it “I felt I was chewing on some kind of breakfast cereal made out of smelly blond glass.”

Of course we don’t know if anything Stormy says is true, but we’d sure like to believe it! However it is hard to believe she was chewing on Trumpiscum’s hair! Or is it?  Hmmmm.

Happy Valentine’s Day.

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


Colon (ko’-lon): Roughly equivalent to “clause” in English, except that the emphasis is on seeing this part of a sentence as needing completion, either with a second colon (or membrum) or with two others (forming a tricolon). When cola (or membra) are of equal length, they form isocolon.

Colon or membrum is also best understood in terms of differing speeds of style that depend upon the length of the elements of a sentence. The Ad Herennium author contrasts the slower speed of concatenated membra to the quicker speed of words joined together without conjunction (articulus).

I had a car. I had a house. I had a wife. Everything was great until my wife went nuts. She wrecked the car. She burned down the house. Then, she got a lawyer. Now, she’s out on bail. I’m living in an apartment and taking the bus to work. As far as I’m concerned things couldn’t get much worse, unless she finds out about my previous marriage. My previous wife disappeared in New Jersey without a trace. I was cleared of any wrongdoing, but try to get anybody in Jersey to believe it! They were all against me–unfair, unreasonable, uncharitable. I’ve been living here in Ohio for the past 12 years without a trace of wrongdoing. Did I say “Without a trace?” Whoops.

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

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Maxim (max’-im): One of several terms describing short, pithy sayings. Others include adageapothegmgnomeparoemiaproverb, and sententia.

He who laughs last didn’t get the joke.  Get it? 

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

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Mesodiplosis (mes-o-dip-lo’-sis): Repetition of the same word or words in the middle of successive sentences.

There’s no time like the future! There’s no time like the past! There’s no time like the right time & the right time is now! Let’s go visit the Russians! I think we can learn a lot from them about things like stealing, money laundering and bribery! Also, after dealing with the Russians, you know Dad can tell us a thing or two about money laundering too. In fact, he may be better at it than they are! Come on Donny, let’s catch a cab over to the consulate!

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

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Mesozeugma (me’-so-zyoog’-ma): A zeugma in which one places a common verb for many subjects in the middle of a construction.

It was time to go across the street, through the yard, onto the path.

He was in a hurry, but it did not matter.  As usual ‘time was a thief’ and it stole his timely arrival.

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

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Metallage (me-tal’-la-gee): When a word or phrase is treated as an object within another expression.

When I look at the President of the US, I think, “How can he be called a ‘leader'”? If you think of him, perhaps, as Lemming in Chief, there may be room to call him a leader: but who he is leading and where they are being led is troublesome to say the least.

A key flaw in his Executive Lemmingship’s leadership has to do with the cliff. I don’t think there is a cliff in the US big enough for him to lead his millions of followers over in one shift. It would be a jammed-up mess. Perhaps Jared and Donald Jr. can help out. They can move sh**t around like nobody’d business! They could easily divide the responsibility, scout out a couple more cliffs. and take credit for a major accomplishment in the field of logistics–maybe even win an award from Logistics Magazine (circ. 70,000).

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

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Orcos (or’-kos): Swearing that a statement is true.

Senator Lunar: How many Russians can dance on the Head of the FBI?

Government Witless: Probably 5 or 6. But, respectfully, I believe it is the head of a pin, not an actual head & that it is somehow a metaphysical meditation on the corporeality of Russians’ souls (if they have any in the first place).

Senator Veritas: You lie I cry!

Government Witless: I swear I am telling the truth so far as Senator Lunar’s more or less insane question begs me to.  By the way: Your mother is alive and well in Miami.

Senator Lunar: 5 or 6 Russians dancing on Comey’s head, eh? There is no bruising. I think you’re lying Witless.

Government Witless: Respectfully Senator Lunar, my answer is true insofar as it is consistent with a historical tradition of speculation on bodies and souls, not to mention angels and whether they’re pure spirit. Russians are a new twist on the commentary.

But I want to ask you: Why are you asking me this more or less (on the face of it) irrelevant, if not crazy, question?

Senator Lunar: My Life Coach Billy Ed Joseph Ronald Richards gave me the idea. He was giving an ‘inspiration’ on how to advance political agendas and one way is ‘dancing’ on the heads of opponents. So, if 5 or 6 Russians danced on Comey’s head, it could very well be the case that he was ‘brought around’ and colluded with the Russians.

Government Witless: Wow! That’s more bizarre than 12th century philosophy and theology combined!

Senator Lunar: I swear it’s true. I may have been there. That’s not ketchup on my loafers. Whoops!

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

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Palilogia: Repetition of the same word, with none between, for vehemence. Synonym for epizeuxis.

Hurry! Hurry! Hurry!

Let’s get this surgery over with! My favorite soap opera starts in 5 minutes!

Just stitch him up! He’ll never know!

Hurry, damn it!

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

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

“Leadership is the ability to translate reality into bullshit.” Anon.

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

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

You are big.

You are small.

Big and small. Small and big.

Your belly hangs over your pants–so big!

Your conscience can dance on the head of pin–so small.

Big body. Tiny soul.

You need help. A good diet and exercise program will help your body. Maybe psychological counseling will help your soul.

Please let me know if there is anything I can do to help!

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


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.

You thought Obamacare was a bad deal. Look at what’s coming our way through Congress to replace it!

Trumpcare (or whatever you want to call it) mistakenly uses the word “care” as in “health care.” As I read it, it should be called the “The Republicans and Trump Don’t Care About Sick People Death Warrant.”

If it passes in its present state (or even with further modifications to appease the Republican Conservative Evildoers), you are screwed–yes–Totally SCREWED. It’s like a health insurance plan for people who will never use it, because, if they do, it will cost an arm and a leg and probably their feet and some fingers too & that’s just for treating something like a case of the flu.

So, if you are prepared to die, support Trumpcare–it’ll kill you soon enough. When you see your insurance premium and your policy’s scope of coverage you’ll be clutching your chest and dialing 911. Can you do that–clutch & dial? Better start practicing. Or, better start calling your Republican Representative and begging her or him NOT to support the legislation.

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


Apoplanesis (a-po-plan’-e-sis): Promising to address the issue but effectively dodging it through a digression.

Wolf: What can you tell us about some of Tumpcare’s negative consequences? For example: 25 million people will lose their current coverage–they will join the ranks of the uninsured, even if they are fully employed–some will surely die. What about that?

Donald: Negative consequences? I wrote that damn bill myself Wolf! Sure, Ryan and his committee were there–a gaggle of supposedly silent partners who were  actually making choking sounds and giggling while I did the heavy lifting. Well actually, I had a little help from my daughter Ivanka (the smart one).

But really–the negative consequences are coming from the fake news coverage–that’s the only place: the enema–whoops–I mean the enemy of the people: they continue to sh**t the place up.

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


Cacozelia (ka-ko-zeel’-i-a): 1. A stylistic affectation of diction, such as throwing in foreign words to appear learned.  2. Bad taste in words or selection of metaphor, either to make the facts appear worse or to disgust the auditors.

Uncle Bill!

He is a leech at your dinner table: You, brother Dave, suck up your food as if you were latched onto a foot or an arm, or somebody’s unfortunate neck, or armpit, or crotch. Not only that, but in another meaning of leech, you wheedle money from our poor unfortunate uncle Bill who is blinded by love for our father and the deathbed promise he made eight years ago to take care of you, the youngest.

It’s time to get your act together you disgusting fool: At least get some table manners–wipe away your dripping drool and get rid of that jacket camouflaged with specs of soup, spatters of gravy, small bits of assorted meats and jellies, and what looks like blood, but is probably beet juice. And using the coat’s sleeves as napkins has made them stiff and soiled with what, only God can tell. Also, wiping your nose on your sleeves has given them a mucus sheen–not very attractive, Dave. The jacket is a roadmap where all roads lead to Slob.

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


Cataplexis (kat-a-pleex’-is): Threatening or prophesying payback for ill doing.

Once upon a time you held me near and dear. Now, you’re slowly tearing me apart and piece-by-piece tossing me into love’s trash bin.

At first I was filled with sorrow, then pain, now anger.

Are you wondering what I’m going to do with my anger? Honestly, I don’t know, but you better keep your eyes wide open day and night.

Something is bound to happen.

  • Post your own cataplexis!on the “Comments” page!

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


Chiasmus (ki-az’-mus): 1. Repetition of ideas in inverted order.  2. Repetition of grammatical structures in inverted order (not to be mistaken with antimetabole, in which identical words are repeated and inverted).

Another day, another fiasco. Screwing up every day!

At a press conference the other day, the President said (among other things), “I am the least anti-Semitic person that you’ve ever seen in your entire life.”

Is that something to be proud of?

There’s a huge difference between being the least X and not being X at all!

Am I missing something? Is there some aspect I’ve overlooked?

Did he ‘really’ mean by what he said that he is not anti-Semitic?

I don’t know.

  • Post your own chiasmus on the “Comments” page!

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


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.

Your leadership style is like a tornado on ice.

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




Comprobatio (com-pro-ba’-ti-o): Approving and commending a virtue, especially in the hearers.

You persisted. You wouldn’t back down. You took personal risks. You gave us all a shining example of courage, non-violence, and wisdom in action–a rare combination of virtues; a rarity that we can’t forget.

The pipeline was put on hold and we hold you responsible for enabling a judge, in good conscience, to see it our way and grant the stay.

Now, we are faced with the stay’s unravelling. Now we are faced with beginning again. I trust you will continue to display the same virtues in action so that we may influence a judge, build sympathy for our cause, and permanently block the pipeline’s construction.


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


Consonance: The repetition of consonants in words stressed in the same place (but whose vowels differ). Also, a kind of inverted alliteration, in which final consonants, rather than initial or medial ones, repeat in nearby words. Consonance is more properly a term associated with modern poetics than with historical rhetorical terminology.

I thought you went crazy, as hazy as you were about the crash, but cash will bring you back to clarity–a rarity even with money on the table and no accident to speak of.  Now tell us, what happened and it’ll be a payday. Anyway, just tell us what you remember. The more detail, the better.

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


Deesis (de’-e-sis): An adjuration (solemn oath) or calling to witness; or, the vehement expression of desire put in terms of “for someone’s sake” or “for God’s sake.”

For God’s sake, slow down! There’s no way I want to die in a traffic accident on my way to the mall.

I swear, if you don’t slow down, I’ll call 911 on my cellphone and have you arrested!

  • Post you own deesis on the “Comments” page!

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

Diacope (di-a’-co-pee): Repetition of a word with one or more between, usually to express deep feeling.

Me boring?

You think I’m boring? Spending time with you is like hanging out with an overripe eggplant

Me boring?

What about the time you made us watch C-span? Watching empty Senate chambers is almost as exciting watching an empty parking lot. Ya-hoo! That was boredom squared!

Me boring?

You’re the one who’s boring!

What do you think of that, most boring person of the century? Why don’t we find something exciting to do, like looking through my baseball card collection?

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