Tag Archives: tropes

Protherapeia 

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.

“The future is not ours to see.” The future was not theirs to see. They were cheerful. They were looking forward to lunchtime and hanging out with their friends–to eating lunch and joking around like they did every day. Noisy kids–a joyful noise. But now the lunchroom’s empty and silent. The hallways are empty and silent and our hearts are broken. Two wonderful kids are dead, shot down by a psychopath dressed in black. Where did a 16 year old get a .45 caliber automatic handgun? Who is to blame for that? We are at least partially to blame for our failure to move our politicians to take steps–to make it illegal to keep weapons unlocked when not in use and to make sure only the right people have keys or know the gun safe’s combination.

There is much more that needs to be done. When we are done mourning we must go to work to agitate for sane gun laws and see to it that our politicians hear us and take appropriate action. Otherwise, school shootings will keep happening. Innocent children will die.

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

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Protrope

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

If you’ll just help me hide this cash, I promise to let you have some. We’ve been friends since high school. I’d hate to see that go by the wayside now. Here’s a shovel. We’re going to hide the money in your garden. Come spring, we’ll be harvesting some bundles of lettuce. Ha! Ha! Stop looking at me like that and start digging. This pistol isn’t pointed at you anyway–it’s just pointed in your general direction. Just start digging before I change my mind and bury you instead of the money.

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

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Prozeugma

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 listened to the hearings. The fairytale context setting stories. The invited guests’ narratives with no foundations in fact. The sad excuses for lawyers and elected officials representing Republican interests. The sideshow with one pitiful side and one praiseworthy side.

I wonder what the outcome will be. I know what it should be.

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

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Pysma

Pysma (pys’-ma): The asking of multiple questions successively (which would together require a complex reply). A rhetorical use of the question.

I was on the phone call.  I heard it with my own ears. There is no doubt that Ukraine’s President was being extorted by our President. Do you really believe I am mistaken? Do you really believe virtually all the other people who were in on the call got it wrong? What kind of bullshit are you trying to push on the American people? What is your motive? To undermine our democracy? To make a Big Lie prevail? To please your boss?

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

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Ratiocinatio

Ratiocinatio (ra’-ti-o-cin-a’-ti-o): Reasoning (typically with oneself) by asking questions. Sometimes equivalent to anthypophora. More specifically, ratiocinatio can mean making statements, then asking the reason (ratio) for such an affirmation, then answering oneself. In this latter sense ratiocinatio is closely related to aetiologia. [As a questioning strategy, it is also related to erotima {the general term for a rhetorical question}.]

Should he be impeached? Yes. Why? Clearly, given the pile of evidence, he committed an offense that is impeachable. But, some would say that’s not a good reason to impeach him–he behaves this way “all the time.”  If that’s the case, he should’ve been impeached already! In fact, it is bizarre to claim that frequently breaking the law makes the latest infraction permissible. Where does this idea come from? It comes from the minds of immature idiots whose only criterion of guilt or innocence is loyalty to the accused–regardless of what the accused may guilty of. It nearly makes me sick to know you fools are entrusted with voting on the outcome of his trial and that you make up a majority in the Senate. God save us. God save the United States of America.

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

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Repotia

Repotia (re-po’-ti-a): 1. The repetition of a phrase with slight differences in style, diction, tone, etc. 2. A discourse celebrating a wedding feast.

1. Help me! Extract me! Don’t you think you should save me? I’m drowning. Helllllp! Dammit! Get me the hell out of here!

2. I remember the first time I got married. Plain and simple in front of a Justice of the Peace. I remember the second time I got married. Unbelievably gaudy display of wealth and self-importance. I remember the third time I got married, 30 years ago. A simple ceremony in a simple church, like your wedding. After 30 years, we’re still happily married.

This is your third marriage. I hope it works like mine has. Here’s to 30 more years! Bless you!

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

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Restrictio

Restrictio (re-strik’-ti-o): Making an exception to a previously made statement. Restricting or limiting what has already been said.

I think it’s time for Trump to shut the hell up. Well, maybe not shut the hell up, but just have his vocal chords removed. Well, maybe just one vocal chord would do it. Yeah, that’s the ticket. One vocal chord.

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

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Sarcasmus

Sarcasmus (sar’kaz’-mus): Use of mockery, verbal taunts, or bitter irony.

Your hair is a complicated blond freeway intersection designed to confuse your nits into tumbling down your collar. For a guy with your brains, I would expect something like this. Time and again, you show us all how amazingly brilliant your amazing brilliance is. If we could all be like you the world would be destroyed.

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

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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. Whistleblower, federal employee, Lindsey Graham. Truthful. Truthful. Liar.

2. They lied. They prevaricated. They stretched the truth. They fibbed. They were full of shit. They were Trump’s most stalwart supporters.

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

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Sententia

Sententia (sen-ten’-ti-a): One of several terms describing short, pithy sayings. Others include adageapothegemgnomemaximparoemia, and proverb.

“Never a lender nor a borrower be.”

Adhering to the advice above has kept me poor, frustrated, and lonely all of my life.

It all started when I joined the Mega-Jesus Church of the Resurrected Saint Petersburg Anointed With Light and Gold Rolex Watches and Small Weapons. The Pastor is Father Doctor Reverend Excon O’Bail. It was the way he pointed a loaded pistol at the congregation (often at me) and yelled, “Ok you lost parasites, it’s time to make your offering. If it’s under a grand your goin’ outta here in a rubber bag.”

Now I own only my underwear, shoes, a suit, a bicycle, and a Rev. Excon Specially Formulated Bible. I have a decent job, but my family is estranged. My parents disowned me years ago and my brother Bill is trying to have me put away. My sister, who is a budding writer, wants me to tell her my “story” so she can write a book and “become famous.”

I just want to continue counting my blessings. I have faith that I will get past zero someday and claim the beautiful rewards promised by Rev. Excon.

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

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Simile

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

Trump is like a talking fart.

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

 

Skotison

Skotison (sko’-ti-son): Purposeful obscurity.

There is testimony, and then there IS testimony. We need to work up a pack of lies, affect righteous indignation and head out for the TV talk shows and news programs by the end of the week. For this sort of stuff FOX is not going to be enough.

So let’s meet in the secure bunker and develop our talking points on the things both of us know are going to be problematic. Also, we’ve got to keep L’l Schnitzel from getting in the way.

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

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Syllepsis

Syllepsis (sil-lep’-sis): When a single word that governs or modifies two or more others must be understood differently with respect to each of those words. A combination of grammatical parallelism and semantic incongruity, often with a witty or comical effect. Not to be confused with zeugma: [a general term describing when one part of speech {most often the main verb, but sometimes a noun} governs two or more other parts of a sentence {often in a series}].

You have terminated your National Security Advisor, White House Chief of Staff, White House Communications Director, Secretary of Health and Human Services, and soon, countless people who can’t afford health insurance because of you and your sadistic colleagues in the US Senate.

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

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Symploce

Symploce (sim’-plo-see or sim’-plo-kee): The combination of anaphora and epistrophe: beginning a series of lines, clauses, or sentences with the same word or phrase while simultaneously repeating a different word or phrase at the end of each element in this series.

I am not too old to run this race.

I am not too moderate to win this race.

I am not going to lose this race.

I am going to be your next President

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

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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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Synonymia

Synonymia (si-no-ni’-mi-a): In general, the use of several synonyms together to amplify or explain a given subject or term. A kind of repetition that adds emotional force or intellectual clarity. Synonymia often occurs in parallel fashion. The Latin synonym, interpretatio, suggests the expository and rational nature of this figure, while another Greek synonym, congeries, suggests the emotive possibilities of this figure.

I am tired, burned out, worn out. These hours we’ve been keeping are pulling me apart. Day is night, night is day; working, laboring, and nearly groveling to a clock: A clock made to measure time, but the time we put in isn’t being measured.

I want to quit, resign, hand in my notice, take a hike, but then I’ll become homeless, hungry, and lost to the world. Damn.

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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Syntheton

Syntheton (sin’-the-ton): When by convention two words are joined by a conjunction for emphasis.

Life and death

Hope and fear

Winning and losing

Words have their opposites creating trajectories from one to the other, from the other to the other in dialectical repetitions, in circles unbroken by time, in bent lines.

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

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Synzeugma

Synzeugma (sin-zoog’-ma): That kind of zeugma in which a verb joins (and governs) two phrases by coming between them. A synonym for mesozeugma.

The time, ticking mercilessly, on its faithless arc destroys the present with its inevitable day- and night-making progress. So, the future casts a dim glow, making shadows of our lives stretching into our past like an expanding and contracting yardstick. Constantly altering our memory, reconciling and exacerbating the conflicts that measure arouses.

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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Tasis

Tasis (ta’-sis): Sustaining the pronunciation of a word or phrase because of its pleasant sound. A figure apparent in delivery.

We are soooo happy that Trump will be impeached! It will be like a weight off of everybody’s shoulders, except for Cohen, Manafort and the parade of other low life scum bags that are tangled up in his nefarious lifestyle.

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

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Traductio

Traductio (tra-duk’-ti-o): Repeating the same word variously throughout a sentence or thought. Some authorities restrict traductio further to mean repeating the same word but with a different meaning (see ploceantanaclasis, and diaphora), or in a different form (polyptoton). If the repeated word occurs in parallel fashion at the beginnings of phrases or clauses, it becomes anaphora; at the endings of phrases or clauses, epistrophe.

He alienated our allies. Stupid! He plays kiss-ass with Putin. Stupid! He put kids in cages. Stupid and cruel.

There’s no doubt that Donald Trump is stupid and cruel. Three more years of his stupidity and cruelty and the United States will become a stupid and cruel place to live. Maybe it already is!

When will the US start producing a wave a refugees who want to escape? Probably when Trump gets reelected by an army of Russian trolls and their Republican allies. He did it once. He can do it again.

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

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Topographia

Topographia (top-o-graf’-i-a): Description of a place. A kind of enargia [: {en-ar’-gi-a} generic name for a group of figures aiming at vivid, lively description].

A tattered carpet with images of Russian helicopters spraying bullets on small crumbling villages. Young girls with shiny black eyes and jingling coins draped from green and red and purple and blue dresses, and boys in baggy pants, white tunics and every color vests. It’s not suburban New Jersey (although it could be). It’s somewhere in Afghanistan where war has been raging for as long as I can remember and it is a miracle that anybody is still left alive.

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

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Tasis

Tasis (ta’-sis): Sustaining the pronunciation of a word or phrase because of its pleasant sound. A figure apparent in delivery.

“Wow. It’s perrrfect! My own personal private Supreme Court! Our goal is the repeal of evvvvveryyything back to pre-Civil War–back when America was great. Bye bye abortion. Hello Jim Crow. It’s beautiful.”

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

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Thaumasmus

Thaumasmus (thau-mas’-mus): To marvel at something rather than to state it in a matter of fact way.

American history of rough. There was the American Revolution. There was the wanton murder of Native Americans. There was the depravity of slavery. There was the Great Depression. There was Word war II and Third Reich.

Now there is Donald Trump: The cosmic blight. The maker of massive shit stains. The stinking wave of blood-flecked vomit. The end of democracy.

It’s only a matter of time before Trump’s supporters will have the opportunity to yell “Guillotine, Guillotine, Guillotine” as Hilary Clinton is marched down Wall Street.

All that I know right now is that mental illness can have a starring role in politics. Compassion, sanity and honesty are given minor bit parts by the Mad One as he may plot democracy’s demise with Putin, Xi Jinping, the Koch brothers, and the NRA.

The internment camps are open for business.

Beware!

Their purpose may be expanded to accommodate dissenters and other “undesirables.”

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

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