Rhetorical Devices

First were the Persuasion devices, and now the Rhetorical Devices. You’ll likely notice they share quite a few, and those they do are the same.


Word Definition
acatalectic having complete or full number of syllables in a poetic line
accismus in rhetoric, pretending to refuse something
adynaton rhetorical use of a nearly impossible situation for emphasis
agnomination rhetorical use of similar-sounding words for effect
alogism illogical statement
anacoenosis rhetorical questioning of hearers or opponents for opinions on a matter
anacoluthon moving to new topic of discussion before finishing current one
anadiplosis repeating last word of clause at beginning of next clause
analepsis repetition of a word or phrase for emphasis; pleonasm
anaphora repetition of a word at beginning of successive phrases for emphasis
anastrophe reversing or inverting word order as rhetorical device
antanaclasis repetition of key word of phrase as a play on words
anthorism counter-definition; redefinition of opponent’s term for rhetorical effect
anthypophora refuting an objection using a contrary inference
anticlimax expression whose last part is decreased in effect from the prior part
antimetabole figure in which words or phrases are repeated but in inverse order
antimetathesis inversion of the parts of an antithesis
antiphrasis use of words in a sense opposite to literal
antistrophe repetition of words in reverse order
antistrophon turning of opponent’s own argument against them
antithesis contrast of ideas by means of parallel arrangement of words or clauses
antonomasia use of descriptive phrase or epithet instead of proper name
aparithmesis rhetorical answer to a proposition
apodosis main concluding clause in a conditional sentence
apophasis saying something by stating that you will not mention it
aposiopesis suddenly stopping in the middle of a speech for emphasis
apostrophe addressing of a personified thing rhetorically
asteism refined irony
asyndeton rhetorical device of omitting conjunctions
atticism expression characterized by conciseness and elegance
auxesis increase in size; hyperbole or augmentation of meaning
bathos appearance of the commonplace in elevated matter for rhetorical effect
catastasis introductory part of speech where narrator introduces subject
chiasmus contrast by parallelism in reverse order
climax gradual increase in force of rhetorical expressions or drama of a performance
consecution logical sequence or progression of an argument
diacope rhetorical separation of a compound word by a third word; tmesis
diallage device in which many arguments brought upon one point
diallelus circular argument
dialogism rhetorical discussion in form of an imaginary dialogue
diaporesis rhetorical expression of uncertainty of which of two options to adopt
diasyrm rhetorical device of condemning through faint praise
diatyposis rhetorically vivid and clear description of a subject
dicaeology defending oneself in argument by claiming justification
dilemma in rhetoric, forcing a choice between two equally unfavourable choices
dilogy intentional ambiguousness
dinumeration numbering of rhetorical points one by one
ecbole digression
echolalia echo-like repetition of another’s words
echopraxia echo-like repetition of another’s actions
ecphasis explicit declaration or interpretation
ecphonesis rhetorical exclamation
ecphrasis plain interpretation of a thing
ekphrasis description of a work of art as rhetorical exercise
enantiosis ironic expression of idea by refuting its contrary
enthymeme rhetorical suppression or omission of a premise
epanadiplosis sentence which begins and ends with same word
epanalepsis repetition
epanaphora repetition of same word at beginning of multiple phrases or sentences
epanastrophe device where end of one sentence is repeated as beginning of next
epanodos recapitulation of chief points in a discourse after digression
epanorthosis retraction of statement in order to intensify it
epexegesis addition of words to make the sense more clear
epibole device of beginning several clauses with same word
epilogue rhetorical conclusion or summary
epiphonema exclamation, finishing phrase or reflection
epiphora rhetorical repetition of a word at the end of several sentences
epiplexis persuasion through stylized but severe criticism of opponent
epiploce use of multiple entwined points in succession in an argument
epistrophe ending of successive clauses with the same word
epitrope rhetorical but ironic granting of permission to an opponent to do something
epizeuxis immediate repetition of a word for emphasis
erotesis rhetorical questioning
ethopoeia delineation of the character of someone or something
euphemism rhetorical use of a pleasant or favourable form in place of a harsh one
exergasia remaining on one point of argument while gradually fleshing it out
gemination doubling of a consonant sound; in rhetoric, repetition of a word or phrase
hendiadys expression of adjective and noun as two adjectives
heterosis use of one form of a noun or pronoun in place of another for rhetorical effect
homeoteleuton the use or occurrence of similar word endings
homoeoptoton use of series of words sharing the same verb or noun inflections
hypallage figure in which relations between words are changed
hyperbaton rhetorical device in which word order is reversed
hyperbole impression by extravagant exaggeration
hypercatalectic having an extra syllable on the end of a line of verse
hypobole anticipating and refuting objections to an argument
hypophora statement of an opponent’s probable but as yet unstated objection
hypostrophe return to primary argument after digression
hypotyposis vivid description of a scene
hysteron proteron in rhetoric, putting first what normally comes last
ischiorrhogic of an iambic line, having spondees in the second, fourth or sixth place
lemma preliminary proposition, theme, argument or headword
litotes understatement by affirming using negation of the contrary
macrology much talk with little to say; redundancy; pleonasm
meiosis understatement of size or importance for rhetorical effect
merism rhetorical device of contrasting two parts of a whole
mesozeugma placement of a word referring to two different clauses between them
metabasis transition; transfer; in rhetoric, movement from one topic to another
metalepsis metonymy of a double or indirect kind
metaphor figurative transfer of qualities from one object or event to another
metaphrase turning of prose into verse or vice versa
metastasis removal from one place to another; rapid transition in argument
metonymy figurative use of word to name an attribute of its subject
mimesis rhetorical imitation of another’s words or mannerisms
mycterism sneering; rhetorical sarcasm or irony
noema stating something obscurely, forcing listeners to work it out
oxymoron figure of speech combining contradictory terms
palillogy repetition of a word or word or phrase
parabola rhetorical use of simile or metaphor
paradiastole description of an unfavourable quality through a favourable synonym
paradigma rhetorical comparison by resemblance to another thing
paraenesis rhetorical expression of advice or warning
paragram play on words in which letters are changed
paralipsis fixing attention on subject by pretending to neglect it
paranomasia rhetorical art of punning
parathesis apposition; compounding of words without change
parecbasis rhetorical digression or deviation from expected topic
paregmenon repetition of a word or its cognates in a series of words
parembole insertion of something related to the subject into a phrase
paremptosis insertion of something related to the subject into a phrase
parison even balance of elements in a sentence
paroemia proverb or adage used in argumentation
paromoion starting statement with several words starting with the same letter
paromologia partial admission of opponent’s argument to strengthen one’s final position
parrhesia asking forgiveness in advance for frank or bold speech
pathopoeia excitation of passion by rhetoric or poetry
periergia use of elevated style to discuss a trivial matter
periphrasis circumlocution; round-about expression
perissology verbiage; pleonasm
pleonasm redundancy; use of more words than necessary
ploce repetition of word in more expressive sense for emphasis
polyptoton repetition of word in same sentence with multiple inflectional endings
polysyndeton rhetorical device of repeating conjunction for emphasis
preterition passing over or omission; drawing attention to a thing by claiming to omit it
procatalepsis anticipating and answering an opponent’s objections
prolepsis anticipation; device where objections are anticipated
pronomination description of a thing by its qualities rather than its proper name
prosopopoeia personification; representation of absent person as speaking
protasis first clause in a conditional expression; introductory part of a play
prothysteron putting last what normally comes first in an expression or argument
protozeugma zeugma in which word referring to two clauses is placed before both of them
schesis deriding opponent’s argument by referring to his way of thought
simile comparison of two things
sorites string of statements where end of one is subject of next
superjection exaggeration; hyperbole
syllepsis figure where word related to two others differently
syllogism argument in which two premises lead to a logical conclusion
symploce repetition of word at start of one and end of next clause
synchoresis concession made for the sake of more effective retort
synchysis confusion of meaning due to unusual arrangement
syncrisis comparison of diverse or contradictory things
syndeton phrase whose parts are joined by a conjunction
synecdoche part used to refer to whole or vice versa
synoeciosis rhetorical figure of coupling opposites
tapinosis use of degrading or diminutive diction regarding a topic
tmesis separation of word into parts by an intervening word
trope any figure of speech; figurative language
tuism apostrophe; reference to or regard to a second person
zeugma use of a word to modify two or more words in different ways