Tag Archives: schemes


Paralipsis (par-a-lip’-sis): Stating and drawing attention to something in the very act of pretending to pass it over (see also cataphasis). A kind of irony.

There’s no way I’m going to talk about the harm that will befall millions of people after your health bill is passed. I wouldn’t call it murder, but knowing people will die as a consequence of its passage, and then passing it, has got to ride on some kind some kind of homicidal intention. 

The American Health Care Act of 2017 is a homicidal tribute to indifference toward human life and human suffering.

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


Paramythia (pa-ra-mee’-thi-a): An expression of consolation and encouragement.

So what if you can’t get any legislation passed and the Courts are saying “No, no, no.”

You can still keep on churning out Executive Orders.

The sky is the limit on them! And what we really like is the way you’re dismantling Obama’s legacy! Closing down Cuba travel was a wonderfully insulting move! Don’t stop now! How about morality–how about no hemlines above the knees? No unaccompanied women after 10.00 pm?  Break off diplomatic relations with the UK? Outlaw Fakin’ Bacon–a disgusting liberal substitute for real pig meat.

Give it a shot Donny! What’s to lose?

Executive Orders Rock!  They’re dress rehearsals for your coming dictatorship! Keep ’em coming & and don’t let the federal courts get you down.

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


Paraprosdokian: A figure of speech in which the latter part of a sentence or phrase [or series = anticlimax] is surprising or unexpected in a way that causes the reader or listener to reframe the first part. . . . For this reason, it is extremely popular among comedians and satirists. An especially clever paraprosdokian not only changes the meaning of an early phrase, but also plays on the double meaning of a particular word.(1)

“When the going gets tough, it’s time to go home.” B. Mazlow

1. “Paraprosdokian.” WikipediaThe Free Encyclopedia. 4 Jan 2008, 03:30 UTC. Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. 9 Jan 2008 <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paraprosdokian>.


Paregmenon (pa-reg’-men-on): A general term for the repetition of a word or its cognates in a short sentence. Often, but not always, polyptoton.

Here, there, and everywhere–wherever we look the power of love is eroding. Headline after headline speaks of acts of hatred, bigotry, intolerance.

Where has Love gone? Where are the linked arms testifying to the beauty of solidarity marching on its feet toward peace?

Shall we overcome?  Will we overcome? Can we overcome?

If we are to remain an open and free society, we MUST unite in love’s spirit with selfless regard for each other, and together, repair, patch and restore our torn social fabric.

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


Pareuresis (par-yur-ee’-sis): To put forward a convincing excuse. [Shifting the blame.]

I bought these pants at Salvation Army. Case closed.

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


Paroemion (par-mi’-on): Alliteration taken to an extreme where nearly every word in a sentence begins with the same consonant. Sometimes, simply a synonym for alliteration or for homoeoprophoron [a stylistic vice].

Time told tales tallying trends, tattling terrible truths and torturous travails.

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


Paromoiosis (par-o-moy-o’-sis): Parallelism of sound between the words of adjacent clauses whose lengths are equal or approximate to one another. The combination of isocolon and assonance.

I have my ups.

I have my downs.

I have my dance.

I have my gowns.

Time is not so short.

I need to always show.

If there’s a bright way;

If there’s a long while.

That will lift my spirit.

If my spirit will permit it.

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


Paromologia (par-o-mo-lo’-gi-a): Conceding an argument, either jestingly and contemptuously, or to prove a more important point. A synonym for concessio.

Ok, I was wrong about the car itself, but I was not wrong about what motivated you to purchase it! Vanity and a lack of caring about how much of OUR money you spend on whatever you think YOU need. When will you realize that we’re in this together and take into consideration my point of view, my needs, my interests?

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


Paronomasia (pa-ro-no-ma’-si-a): Using words that sound alike but that differ in meaning (punning).

We always said when the church bell would toll that our faithful pastor had collected another toll on the highway to heaven. He was a for-profit prophet, but we loved him anyway.

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


Parrhesia (par-rez’-i-a): Either to speak candidly or to ask forgiveness for so speaking. Sometimes considered a vice.

I’m sorry but your reasoning skills are on a par with the piece of shrimp you’re chewing on. You need to do something about your illogic: maybe some mental Maalox.

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


Pathopoeia ( path-o-poy’-a): A general term for speech that moves hearers emotionally, especially as the speaker attempts to elicit an emotional response by way of demonstrating his/her own feelings (exuscitatio). Melanchthon explains that this effect is achieved by making reference to any of a variety of pathetic circumstances: the time, one’s gender, age, location, etc

My heart aches alternately with more pain and less pain, but never no pain. This is what it means to have a broken heart. I should be past this now, enjoying my retirement, my children and grandchildren. Yet my heart aches. I am old, too old for the pain. I do not know what to do about the endless pain, but you can pray for me–pray for the end of my pain, still living, and possibly enjoying life with its ups and downs. In the meantime, I will quietly suffer; old and presently broken.

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


Perclusio (per-clu’-si-o): A threat against someone, or something.

Give me that screwdriver, or else! Do you get me? This garage is my garage! If you want to ‘borrow’ tools, just ask.

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


Periergia (pe-ri-er’-gi-a): Overuse of words or figures of speech. As such, it may simply be considered synonymous with macrologia. However, as Puttenham’s term suggests, periergia may differ from simple superfluity in that the language appears over-labored.

There was a lot going on that should not have been going on–yes–going on like an endless river of stuff. Big bad brassy stuff. Like a stream of garbage flowing in my head. I tried to shut it off, but it just keeps on going. Time to schedule an appointment with my therapist to see if she can help turn off the faucet in my head–it’s like a fireplug gone wild, a jacuzzi out of control, a boiling saucepan, a teapot steeping tea too steeply. I need help damming the frothing tide of my consciousness.

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


Period: The periodic sentence, characterized by the suspension of the completion of sense until its end. This has been more possible and favored in Greek and Latin, languages already favoring the end position for the verb, but has been approximated in uninflected languages such as English. [This figure may also engender surprise or suspense–consequences of what Kenneth Burke views as ‘appeals’ of information.]

I was looking and looking, seeing, hoping, and praying for a way out of this place.

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


Periphrasis (per-if’-ra-sis): The substitution of a descriptive word or phrase for a proper name (a species of circumlocution); or, conversely, the use of a proper name as a shorthand to stand for qualities associated with it. (Circumlocutions are rhetorically useful as euphemisms, as a method of amplification, or to hint at something without stating it.)

Here comes Big Mac doing the Big Trump walk and talking incoherent talk–very cheesy.

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


Personification: Reference to abstractions or inanimate objects as though they had human qualities or abilities. The English term for prosopopeia (pro-so-po-pe’-i-a) or ethopoeia (e-tho-po’-ia): the description and portrayal of a character (natural propensities, manners and affections, etc.).

The strong wind blowing through the trees and the dark clouds spoke of an upcoming storm. They were saying: “There’s a thunder and lightning storm coming, better take shelter.”

I listened and understood, and went inside to await the impending storm. The strong wind and dark clouds never lie!

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


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

I dislike to dislike what I like to dislike. Why? Because disliking what I dislike is likely to make me aware of just how much I dislike. It puts an emphasis on the negative and raises the awkward question as to whether I like having so much to dislike. I dislike that, but I am liking the fact that I dislike it.

But, I am confused. As much as I dislike asking, I would like it if somebody out there is likely to know how to get out of this conundrum?

Anybody out there? Can anybody help me with liking what I am disliking?

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


Polysyndeton (pol-y-syn’-de-ton): Employing many conjunctions between clauses, often slowing the tempo or rhythm. (Asyndeton is the opposite of polysyndeton: an absence of conjunctions.)

I woke up and rolled around, and then got out of bed, and then went into the kitchen, and brewed some coffee, and drank a cup, and started to become REALLY awake, and then I sliced a piece of coffee cake and stuffed it in my face, and I settled in to watch my favorite cartoon shows!

Sunday morning. Sleeping until noon and relaxing all day long in my bathrobe, and watching junk TV. What could be better? Monday morning? Ha! Ha! Never in a million years!

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


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

We have all the resources we need to move forward with the project. Most importantly, we have a cadre of experienced supervisors and laborers ready to go. We have the funding as well.

This plan has been well-considered and anticipates key objections (as above). Just let me know if you need further elaboration on the funding or the workforce & I’ll supply it. The project itself will be a success by filling a void in the current real estate market, and that’s a fact! Read the proposal and promotional materials–they will settle any lingering anxieties one may have a bout moving ahead.

In short, we are poised to begin a lucrative project. Let’s get going! Now!

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


Proecthesis (pro-ek’-the-sis): When, in conclusion, a justifying reason is provided.

Clearly, some level of leaking is permissible. It gives us information where we need to make the decisions we need to make. Along with everything else, within certain limitations, leaking is a good thing in Western liberal democracies.

In sum, we need clarity. We need transparency. We need all the information we can get so that we can be an informed electorate. Leaks serve that interest. Don’t plug the leaks! Set up parameters & let the information flow.

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


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. We have the money!  We have the desire. We have the power. What’s holding us at bay? Nothing! Let’s do it.

2. The wall is a beautiful thing. I tell you, it keeps out illegal immigrants. It helps make America great again. It symbolizes our resolve. So, let’s set a budget and build it!

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


Protherapeia (pro-ther-a-pei’-a): Preparing one’s audience for what one is about to say through conciliating words. If what is to come will be shocking, the figure is called prodiorthosis.

We sit here on this beautiful spring morning. We hear birds. We see blue skies. We feel the gentle breeze on our faces, and we think of our loved ones whose innocence was perfect, whose hope was true, who, like us, took it for granted that tomorrow would come.

I’m am sorry to say, and we all know, that their tomorrow did not come. Instead, in a moment, they were taken from us . . .

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

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Protrope (pro-tro’-pe): A call to action, often by using threats or promises.

We’re all hungry and want something to eat! I say we have burgers!

If you don’t agree, I won’t pay for dinner.

So, off we go to McDonalds!

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

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Proverb: One of several terms describing short, pithy sayings. Others include adageapothegmgnomemaximparoemia, and sententia.

“Little ants can make a big problem.” Eddie Picknick, On a Blanket with Vermin.

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

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Prozeugma (pro-zoog’-ma): A series of clauses in which the verb employed in the first is elided (and thus implied) in the others.

I tried the gourmet beer. High end suds. Pint of heaven. Perfection in a glass.

I love this stuff!

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

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