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Culture > Linguistics > Rhetoric

Now updated for CSW15. New words, if any, and new inflections of existing words, are shown in red.

ANADIPLOSIS the beginning of a sentence, line, or clause with the concluding, or any prominent, word of the one preceding > ANADIPLOSES.
ANALOGIC of or belonging to ANALOGY.
ANALOG ANALOGUE ANALOGON that which is analogous to, or corresponds with, some other thing > ANALOGONS or ANALOGA.
ANALOGY a figure of speech involving a comparison.
ANAPHOR ANAPHORA repetition of a word or expression at the beginning of successive phrases, clauses, sentences or verses especially for rhetorical effect. [Gk. anaphora, a carrying back or reference, from ana back, and pherein to bear].
ANAPHORAL of or like ANAPHORA, repetition of a word or expression at the beginning of successive phrases etc.
ANAPHORIC ANAPHORICAL referring to a preceding word or group of words.
ANASTROPHE an inversion of the usual syntactical order of words for rhetorical effect e.g. 'To market went she'.
ANTIMETABOLE repetition of words or ideas in different order.
ANTIMETATHESIS inversion of the members of an antithesis, as in Crabbe's 'A poem is a speaking picture; a picture, a mute poem' > ANTIMETATHESES.
ANTIPHRASIS the humorous or ironic use of a word or a phrase in a sense opposite of its usual meaning > ANTIPHRASES. For example: "Brutus is an honorable man".
ANTISTROPHE the repetition of words in reverse order.
ANTITHESIS the contrast of ideas by means of parallel arrangement of words or clauses > ANTITHESES.
APODEICTIC APODICTIC necessarily true; beyond contradiction. 'Martin's writing is apodictic in tone, reflecting his complete confidence in the correctness of his statements.' [Greek deiknynai, to show].
APOPHASIS the rhetorical device of emphasizing a fact, by pretending to ignore or deny it > APOPHASES.
APOPHATIC emphasizing a fact by pretending to ignore or deny it.
APORETIC relating to APORIA, a professed doubt of what to say or to choose.
APORIA a professed doubt of what to say or to choose: 'to be or not to be'.
APOSIOPESIS a conscious breaking off in the middle of a sentence because of emotion, a dramatic change in thought, or, sometimes, a shifting to understatement or irony > APOSIOPESES.
APOSTROPHE a sudden turning away from the ordinary course of a speech to address some person or object present or absent.
ARGUMENTUM logical argument, proof > ARGUMENTA or ARGUMENTUMS.
ASTEISM urbane irony, polite mockery. [Gk. asty, asteos a town; seen as a place of refinement].
ASYNDETON the omission of conjunctions, as in 'I came, I saw, I conquered' > ASYNDETA or ASYNDETONS.
ATTICISM expression characterized by conciseness and elegance.
AUXESIS an ordering of thoughts expressed in a sequence of ascending importance > AUXESES. [Gk. auxesis, increase].
BATTOLOGY a needless repetition of words in speaking or writing.
BRACHYLOGY a general term for abbreviated or condensed expression, of which ASYNDETON and ZEUGMA are types.
CATAPHORA the use of an expression which refers to or stands for a later word or group of words.
CHIASMIC CHIASTIC relating to CHIASMUS, the inversion of order of corresponding elements of two parallel phrases.
CHIASMUS inversion of order of corresponding elements of two parallel phrases, as 'do not live to eat but eat to live' > CHIASMI.
CIRCUMBENDIBUS an indirect or roundabout course, esp. in speaking or writing > circumlocution.
CIRCUMLOCUTION a roundabout manner of speaking.
DIALLAGE a figure of speech by which arguments, after having been considered from various points of view, are all brought to bear upon one point; also a mineral, a brown, green or grey form of AUGITE. [Gk. diallage, interchange].
DIEGESIS (in an oration) the narration of the facts > DIEGESES.
DISSIMILE a comparison or illustration by contraries.
DYSPHEMISM the substitution of a disagreeable or offensive expression for an agreeable or inoffensive one, e.g. The Holocaust (the dysphemism chosen by Jewish historians to replace the Nazis' euphemism, The Final Solution).
ECBOLE a digression; (Mus.) the sharpening of a tone.
ECPHONESIS rhetorical exclamation > ECPHONESES.
ECPHRASIS EKPHRASIS a description of a work of art as rhetorical exercise > EKPHRASES.
ELENCHTIC ELENCTIC relating to argument, cross-examination or refuting.
ENANTIOSIS the rhetorical device of stating the opposite of what is meant, usually ironically; affirmation by contraries > ENANTIOSES.
ENTHYMEME an argument of probability only.
EPANADIPLOSIS a figure by which a sentence begins and ends with the same word, e.g. 'Rejoice in the Lord alway, and again I say, rejoice' > EPANADIPLOSES.
EPANALEPSIS repetition or resumption with the same words > EPANALEPSES.
EPANODOS a recapitulation of the chief points in a discourse after digression > EPANODOSES.
EPANORTHOSIS the retracting of a statement in order to correct or intensify it, e.g. 'For Britain's guid! for her destruction!' > EPANORTHOSES.
EPIDEICTIC rhetorically demonstrative (showing off).
EPIPHONEMA an exclamation, finishing phrase or reflection > EPIPHONEMAS.
EPISTROPHE the repetition of a word or expression at the end of successive phrases, clauses, sentences or verses especially for rhetorical or poetic effect e.g. 'government of the people, by the people, for the people'.
EPIZEUXIS the immediate repetition of a word for emphasis > EPIZEUXES or EPIZEUXISES.
EROTETIC engaging in or pertaining to rhetorical questioning.
EUPHEMISE EUPHEMIZE to speak or write (of) euphemistically.
EUPHEMISM a figure of rhetoric by which an unpleasant or offensive thing is described or referred to by a milder term e.g. 'the beautiful game' for football.
EUPHEMIST one who engages in EUPHEMISM.
EUPHONISM the custom of using pleasing sounding words.
EUPHUISE EUPHUIZE to write in a euphuistic style.
EUPHUISM artificial elegance of language.
EUPHUIST one who affects excessive refinement and elegance of language.
EUTRAPELIA EUTRAPELY wit, ease and urbanity of conversation.
HENDIADYS the expression of an idea by two nouns connected by and (as cups and gold) instead of by a noun and an adjective (as golden cups) > HENDIADYSES.
HWYL divine inspiration in oratory.
HYPALLAGE a rhetorical figure in which relations between words are changed.
HYPERBATON the use, especially for emphasis, of a word order other than the expected or usual one, as in "Bird thou never wert.'
HYPERBOLE impression by extravagant exaggeration.
HYPOBOLE the anticipation and refutal of objections to an argument.
LITOTES the expression of an affirmative by the negative of the contrary, e.g. not a little angry. [L. from Gk. litos, simple, meagre].
LITOTIC of or like LITOTES, expressing an affirmative by the negative of the contrary.
MEIOSIS understatement as a figure of speech; (biol.) a two-stage type of cell division in sexually reproducing organisms > MEIOSES. [Gk. meiosis, diminution].
MEIOTIC exhibiting MEIOSIS, deliberate understatement > MEIOTICALLY.
METABASIS a transition, e.g. from one subject or point to another > METABASES.
METALEPSIS metonymy, esp of a double, complicated, or indirect kind > METALEPSES.
METAPHOR implied comparison achieved through a figurative use of words.
METASTASIS casual mention of a subject as if it were unimportant; responding to a person's criticism or insult with a riposte that uses or plays on his or her words.
METONYM a word used in METONYMY, e.g. 'the ring' to mean 'boxing'.
METONYMY the figurative use of a word for another closely associated with it, especially of attribute for its subject (as the crown for the sovereign or monarchy).
ONOMATOPOEIA the naming of a thing or action by a vocal imitation of the sound associated with it.
OXYMORON an apparent paradox achieved by the juxtaposition of words which seem to contradict one another > OXYMORONS or OXYMORA. [Gk. neuter of oxymoros, literally, pointedly foolish, from oxys sharp + moros, foolish].
PARABOLE a similitude; a comparison.
PARADOX PARADOXY an apparent contradiction which may nevertheless be true.
PARADOXER one who engages in PARADOX.
PARALEIPSIS PARALIPSIS a figure of speech which implies something more serious by deliberately concise treatment (e.g. 'I don't have time to mention Representative Jones's other faults.') > PARALEIPSES, PARALIPSES. Cf. APOPHASIS.
PARATAXIS the juxtaposition of clauses or phrases without the use of coordinating or subordinating conjunctions, as 'It was cold; the snows came' > PARATAXES. [Gk, from paratassein, to arrange side by side].
PARENESIS an exhortation > PARENESES.
PARRHESIA freedom or boldness of speech. [From NL, from Gk, from para, beyond + rhesis, speech].
PERIPHRASE the use of more words than are necessary to express the idea; a roundabout, or indirect, way of speaking; circumlocution.
PERIPHRASIS using longer phrasing in place of shorter form of expression.
PERIPHRASTIC pertaining to circumlocution or to one who is wordy.
PERISSOLOGY superfluity of words, pleonasm.
PERSONIFICATION the attribution of personality to an impersonal thing.
PIRLICUE PURLICUE a peroration; a resume in conclusion; (verb) to give such a resume.
PLEONASM the use of more words than necessary.
PLEONAST one who practises PLEONASM.
PLEONASTIC using redundant words.
POLEMIC a controversial discussion or attack. [Gk. polemikos, from polemos, war].
POLYSYNDETON the rhetorical device of repeating a conjunction for emphasis: 'it was red and yellow and pink and orange and blue!'.
PROLEPSIS a rhetorical device of weakening objections by anticipating them > PROLEPSES.
PROSOPOPEIA PROSOPOPOEIA a figure of speech in which an imaginary or absent person is represented as speaking or acting.
RHETORIC the theory and practice of eloquence, whether spoken or written, the whole art of using language so as to persuade others.
RHETORICAL relating to thetoric; of a question, not meant to be answered.
RHETORISE RHETORIZE to use rhetorical language.
SIMILE an explicit comparison between two things using 'like' or 'as'.
SOPHISM an argument apparently correct in form but actually invalid; esp such an argument used to deceive.
SORITES a string of statements where the end of one is the subject of the next. [Gk. soreites, from soros, a heap]. N.B. no SORITE*.
SORITIC SORITICAL of or pertaining to a SORITES, a string of statements where the end of one is the subject of the next.
SYLLEPSIS a construction in which a word governs two or more other words but agrees in number, gender, or case with only one, or has a different meaning when applied to each of the words, as in 'He lost his coat and his temper' > SYLLEPSES.
SYLLEPTIC relating to SYLLEPSIS, a construction in which a word governs two or more other words.
SYMPLOCE the repetition of a word at the start of one and end of the next clause, e.g. 'the memory that each cycle of the tide is valid, each cycle of the wave is valid, each cycle of a relationship is valid'. [Gk. symploke, an interweaving].
SYNCHORESIS a concession, esp one made for the sake of a more effective retort > SYNCHORESES,
SYNCHYSIS a confused arrangement of words in a sentence, obscuring the meaning > SYNCHYSES.
SYNECDOCHE a figure of speech by which a part is used for the whole (as fifty sail for fifty ships), or the whole for a part (as the smiling year for spring).
SYNOECIOSIS the rhetorical figure of coupling opposites.
TAUTOLOGY the needless repetition of an idea, statement or word; a redundant (tautologous) statement.
THEMA the theme or subject of a declamation or discourse; a thesis > THEMATA.
TOPOS a stock theme or topic > TOPOI.
TROPE a figure of speech; a word or phrase interpreted as an embellishment in sung parts of certain medieval liturgies; (verb) to provide with tropes.
TROPOLOGY the use of metaphors in writing or speaking.
ZEUGMA the literary device of using word to modify two other words with only one of which it is correctly used, or makes a different kind of sense with each > ZEUGMAS. [Gk., from zeugnynai, to yoke].
ZEUGMATIC of or pertaining to ZEUGMA, the literary device of using word to modify two other words with only one of which it is correctly used > ZEUGMATICALLY.