accumulation to bdelygmia

 accumulationallegoryalliterationambiguityamplificationanadiplosisanalogyanaphoraanticipationanticlimaxantihimeraantimetabole antiphrasisantirrhesisantithesisantonomasiaapophasisaporiaaposiopesisapostropheappositionAsiaticassonanceasyndetonAtticauxesisbdelygmia


accumulation — Figure wherein a rhetor gathers scattered points and lists them together.

“I don’t know how to manage my time; he does.  . . .
I don’t know how to dance and he does.
I don’t know how to type and he does.
I don’t know how to drive. . . .
I don’t know how to sing and he does.”
(Natalia Ginzburg, “He and I”)

“We have our troubles too–One trouble is you: you talk too loud, cuss too loud, look too black.”
(Langston Hughes, “High to Low”)


allegory — Extending a metaphor through an entire speech or passage so that objects, persons, and actions in the text are equated with meanings that lie outside the text.  The most famous allegory in English is John Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress (1678), an allegory of Christian salvation represented by the varied experiences of its Everyman hero, Christian. [Gk.  “to speak so as to imply something other”]

“And now, I said, let me show in a figure how far our nature is enlightened
or unenlightened: –Behold! human beings living in an underground cave,
which has a mouth open towards the light and reaching all along the cave;
here they have been from their childhood, and have their legs and necks
chained so that they cannot move, and can only see before them, being
prevented by the chains from turning round their heads.  Above and behind
them a fire is blazing at a distance, and between the fire and the prisoners
there is a raised way; and you will see, if you look, a low wall built along
the way, like the screen which marionette players have in front of them, over
which they show the puppets.  . . .  And now look again, and see what will
naturally follow if the prisoners are released and disabused of their error.
At first, when any of them is liberated and compelled suddenly to stand up
and turn his neck round and walk and look towards the light, he will suffer
sharp pains; the glare will distress him, and he will be unable to see the
realities of which in his former state he had seen the shadows; and then
conceive some one saying to him, that what he saw before was an illusion, but
that now, when he is approaching nearer to being and his eye is turned towards
more real existence, he has a clearer vision, -what will be his reply?  And you
may further imagine that his instructor is pointing to the objects as they
pass and requiring him to name them, -will he not be perplexed?  Will he not
fancy that the shadows which he formerly saw are truer than the objects which
are now shown to him?”
(Plato, from Book Seven of The Republic, “Allegory of the Cave”)


alliteration — Repetition of initial consonant sound.  [L.  “putting letters together”]

“In a somer seson, whan soft was the sonne,
I shope me into shroudes, as I a shepe were;”
(William Langland, 14th century)

“Father is rather vulgar, my dear.  The word Papa, besides, gives a pretty
form to the lips.  Papa, potatoes, poultry, prunes, and prism, are all very
good words for the lips: especially prunes and prism.”
(Charles Dickens, Little Dorrit)

“Guinness is good for you.” (advertisement)

“My style is public negotiations for parity, rather than private
negotiations for position.”  (Jesse Jackson)


ambiguity — The presence of two or more possible meanings in any passage. [L. “wandering about”]

See William Empson’s Seven Types of Ambiguity, 2nd ed., 1947.

“I can’t tell you how much I enjoyed meeting your husband.”

“I can’t recommend this book too highly.”


amplification — General term for all the ways an argument, an explanation, or a description can be expanded and enriched. [L. “enlargement”] As Havelock, Ong, and others have pointed out, amplification is clearly a virtue in an oral culture, providing redundancy of information, ceremonial amplitude, and scope for memorable syntax and diction.

“Mr. and Mrs. Veneering were bran-new people in a bran-new house in a
bran-new quarter of London. Everything about the Veneerings was spick and
span new. All their furniture was new, all their friends were new, all their
servants were new, their place was new, their carriage was new, their
harness was new, their horses were new, their pictures were new, they
themselves were new, they were as newly-married as was lawfully compatible
with their having a bran-new baby, and if they had set up a
great-grandfather, he would have come home in matting from Pantechnicon,
without a scratch upon him, French-polished to the crown of his head.”
(Charles Dickens, Our Mutual Friend)


anadiplosis (Pronounced “a na di PLO sis” … Gk. “doubling back”) — Repetition of the last word of one line or clause to begin the next.

“When I give I give myself.” (Whitman)

“Our doubt is our passion, and our passion is our task.” (Henry James)

“All service ranks the same with God,
With God, whose puppets, best and worst,
Are we.” (Robert Browning, Pippa Passes)

“The land of my fathers. My fathers can have it.”
(Dylan Thomas on Wales)


analogy — Reasoning or arguing from parallel cases. [Gk. “proportion”]

A simile is an expressed analogy; a metaphor is an implied one.

“Analogies decide nothing, that is true, but they can make one feel more at
home.”  (Sigmund Freud, New Introductory Lectures)

“Writing a book of poetry is like dropping a rose petal down the Grand
Canyon and waiting for the echo.”   (Don Marquis)

“History is to the nation rather as memory is to the individual.  As an
individual deprived of memory becomes disoriented and lost, not knowing
where he has been or where he is going, so a nation denied a conception of
its past will be disabled in dealing with its present and its future.”
(Arthur Schlesinger, Jr.)

“Harrison Ford is like one of those sports cars that advertise acceleration
from 0 to 60 m.p.h. in three or four seconds. He can go from slightly broody
inaction to ferocious reaction in approximately the same time span. And he
handles the tight turns and corkscrew twists of a suspense story without
losing his balance or leaving skid marks on the film. But maybe the best and
most interesting thing about him is that he doesn’t look particularly sleek,
quick, or powerful; until something or somebody causes him to gun his
engine, he projects the seemly aura of the family sedan.”
(Richard Schickel, Time magazine review of Patriot Games)


anaphora — Repetition of the same word or phrase at the beginning of successive clauses or verses. [Gk. “carrying up or back”]

“I think I could turn and live with animals, they are so placid and
self-contained, I stand and look at them long and long.
They do not sweat and whine about their condition,
They do not lie awake in the dark and weep for their sins,
They do not make me sick discussing their duty to God,
Not one is dissatisfied, not one is demented with the mania of
owning things,
Not one kneels to another, nor to his kind that lived thousands of
years ago, Not one is respectable or unhappy over the whole earth.
(Walt Whitman, Song of Myself, part 32)

“We shall not flag or fail. We shall go on to the end. We shall fight in
France, we shall fight on the seas and oceans, we shall fight with growing
confidence and growing strength in the air, we shall defend our island . . .
we shall never surrender.” (Winston Churchill)

“He taught me how to clean out hog waste with a shovel and a hose.  He
taught me how to clear land with a double-bladed ax.  He taught me how to
plow a steep hillside with a team of mules.  He taught me how to take up hay
all day long in the hot sun.”  (Al Gore Jr., on his life experiences growing
up as the son of Senator Al Gore Sr.)

“I’m not afraid to die,” I said. “I’m not afraid to live. I’m not afraid to
fail. I’m not afraid to succeed. I’m not afraid to fall in love.  I’m not
afraid to be alone.  I’m just afraid I might have to stop talking about
myself for five minutes.”
(Kinky Friedman, When the Cat’s Away)


anticipation — General name for figures wherein a rhetor foresees and replies to objections.


anticlimax — A bathetic declension from a noble tone to a less exalted one-often for comic effect.

“Not only is there no God, but try getting a plumber on weekends.” (Woody Allen)


antihimera (Pronounced “an tee HI mer a”) — Substitution of one part of speech for another.

“I’ll unhair thy head.” (Shakespeare, Antony and Cleopatra)


antimetabole — See chiasmus.


antiphrasis — Use of a word in a sense opposite to its conventional meaning. Verbal irony. [Gk. “expressing by the opposite”]

“How terribly smart you are!”


antirrhesis — Rejecting an argument because of its insignificance, error, or wickedness. [Gk. “refutation, counterstatement”]

“I have been mocked and censured as a scare-monger and even as a war-monger,
by those whose complacency and inertia have brought us all nearer to war and
war nearer to us all.” (Winston Churchill)


antithesis — Juxtaposition of contrasting ideas in balanced phrases. [Gk. “opposition”]

“Love is an ideal thing, marriage a real thing.” (Goethe)

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of
wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was
the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of
Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had
everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to
Heaven, we were all going direct the other way.”
(Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities)

“I would rather be ashes than dust!  I would rather that my spark should
burn out in a brilliant blaze than it should be stifled by dryrot.  I would
rather be a superb meteor, every atom of me in magnificent glow, than a
sleepy and permanent planet.   The proper function of man is to live, not to
exist.  I shall not waste my days in trying to prolong them.  I shall use my
time.” (Jack London)

“Death destroys a man, but the idea of death saves him.”
(E. M. Forster, Howard’s End)

“We must learn to live together as brothers or perish together as fools.”
(Martin Luther King, Jr., speech at St. Louis, 1964)

“We think in generalities, but we live in details.” (Alfred North Whitehead)

“The more acute the experience, the less articulate its expression.”
(Harold Printer)


antonomasia (Pronunciation: “an toe no MAS ya” … Gk. “naming instead”) — Substitution of a title, epithet, or descriptive phrase for a proper name (or of a personal name for a common name) to designate a member of a group or class.

Calling a lover “Casanova,” a man in love “Romeo,” an office worker
“Dilbert,” Elvis Presley “the King,” Bill Clinton “the Comeback Kid,” or
Horace Rumpole’s wife “She Who Must Be Obeyed.”


apophasis — The mention of something in disclaiming intention of mentioning it. [Gk. “denial”] (See paralepsis.)

“Mary Matlin, the Bush campaign’s political director, made the point with
ruthless venom at a press briefing in Washington, saying,  ‘The larger issue
is that Clinton is evasive and slick. We have never said to the press that
he is a philandering, pot-smoking, draft-dodger. There’s nothing nefarious
or subliminal going on.'”
(Manchester Guardian, 1992)


aporia — The expression of real or simulated doubt or perplexity. In the terminology of deconstruction, aporia is a final impasse or paradox-the site at which
the text most obviously undermines its own rhetorical structure, dismantles,
or deconstructs itself. [Gk. “without passage”]

“A virginal air, large blue eyes very soulful and appealing, a dazzling fair
skin, a supple and resilient body, a touching voice, teeth of ivory and the
loveliest blond hair–there you have a sketch of this charming creature
whose naive graces and delicate traits are beyond our power to describe.”
(Marquis De Sade)


aposiopesis — An unfinished thought or broken sentence. [Gk. “maintaining silence”]

“I will have such revenges on you both
That all the world shall–I will do things–
What they are yet, I know not; but they shall be
The terrors of the earth!” (Shakespeare, King Lear)


apostrophe — Breaking off discourse to address some absent person or thing, some abstract quality, or a nonexistent personage. [Gk. “turning away”]

“Milton! thou should’st be living at this hour:
England hath need of thee . . ..”
(William Wordsworth, “London, 1802”)

“Bright star, would I were steadfast as thou art” (John Keats)

“Welcome, O life!  I go to encounter for the millionth time the reality of
experience and to forge in the smithy of my soul the uncreated conscience of
my race. . . .  Old father, old artificer, stand me now and ever in good stead.”
(James Joyce, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man)


apposition — Placing side-by-side two coordinate elements, the second of which serves as an explanation or modification of the first.

“The sky was sunless and grey, there was snow in the air, buoyant motes,
play things that seethed and floated like the toy flakes inside a crystal.”
(Truman Capote, The Muses Are Heard)

“It was a bleak period of present privation and threatening disaster–the
period of soya beans and Basic English–and in consequence the book is
infused with a kind of gluttony, for food and wine, for the splendours of
the recent past, and for rhetorical and ornamental language, which now with
a full stomach I find distasteful.”
(Evelyn Waugh in 1959 on his wartime novel Brideshead Revisited)


Asiatic — A prolix or highly ornamented style, opposite of Attic style.

“Yon luminary amputation needs” for “Snuff the candle.”


assonance — Identity or similarity in sound between internal vowels in neighboring works. [L. “to sound towards”]

“Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage, against the dying of the light.” (Dylan Thomas)

“Strips of tinfoil winking like people” (Sylvia Plath)


asyndeton — Omission of conjunctions between words, phrases, or clauses (opposite of polysyndeton). (Pronounced “a SIN da tun”)  [Gk. “unconnected”]

“Dogs, undistinguishable in mire.  Horses, scarcely better–splashed to
their very blinkers.  Foot passengers, jostling one another’s umbrellas, in
a general infection of ill temper . . ..” (Charles Dickens, Bleak House)

“I have found the warm caves in the woods,
filled them with skillets, carvings, shelves,
closets, silks, innumerable goods”
(Anne Sexton, “Her Kind”)

“In some ways, he was this town at its best–strong, hard-driving, working feverishly, pushing, building, driven by ambitions so big they seemed Texas-boastful.”
(Mike Royko, “A Tribute”)


Attic — Brief, witty, sometimes epigrammatic style–opposite of the ornate Asiatic style. [Gk. “the style of Attica”]

“Some books are to be tasted.  Others to be swallowed, and some few to be
chewed and digested.  That is, some books are to be read only in parts;
others to be read but not curiously; and some few to be read wholly, and
with diligence and attention.” (Francis Bacon, “Of Studies”)


auxesis — A gradual increase in intensity of meaning: words arranged in ascending order of importance. [Gk. “amplification”]

“Since brass, nor stone, nor earth, nor boundless sea,
But sad mortality o’er-sways their power.”
(Shakespeare, Sonnet 65)


bdelygmia — A litany of abuse–a series of critical epithets, descriptions, or attributes. A type of invective.


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accumulation to bdelygmiacatachresis to distinctio | effectio to gradatio | homoioiteleuton to oxymoron | parable to running style | scheme to zeugma