homoioiteleuton to oxymoron

homoioiteleuton | hyperbaton | hyperbole | hypocrisis | hypophora | hypotaxis | hysteron proteron | identification | induction | invective | invented ethos | invention | irony | isocolon | kairos | litoteslogos | loose sentence | malapropism | maxim | meiosis | memorymetaphor | metonymy | onomatopoeia | oxymoron


homoioiteleuton [homoeuteleuton … Pronunciation: “home ee o TEL you ton” … Gk. “like ending”) — Similar sound pattern at ends of words.

“My mother weeping, my father wailing, my sister crying, our maid howling, our cat wringing her hands.” (Shakespeare, The Two Gentleman of Verona)


hyperbaton (Pronunciation: “high PER ba tun” … Gk. “transposed”) — Altering word order for emphasis; also, a figure in which language takes a sudden turn–usually an interruption.

“Some rise by sin, and some by virtue fall.” (Shakespeare, Measure for Measure II.i)

“And a small cabin build there, of clay and wattles made.” (W. B. Yeats, “The Lake Isle of Innisfree”)

“Sorry I be but go you must.” (Yoda in Star Wars)


hyperbole — An extravagant statement; the use of exaggerated terms for the purpose of emphasis or heightened effect. [Gk. “excess”]

“I would/Love you ten years before the Flood” (Marvell, “To His Coy Mistress”)

“The bitter, of course, goes with the sweet. To be an American is,
unquestionably, to be the noblest, the grandest, the proudest mammal that
ever hoofed the verdure of God’s green footstool. Often, in the black abysm
of the night, the thought that I am one awakens me with a blast of trumpets,
and I am thrown into a cold sweat by contemplation of the fact. I shall
cherish it on the scaffold; it will console me in hell. But there is no
perfection under Heaven, so even an American has his small blemishes, his
scarcely discernible weaknesses, his minute traces of vice and depravity. ”
(H. L. Mencken, “The Man Within”)


“I held the mescal up to the light and watched the worm slide across the
bottom of the bottle. A gift from a friend just back from Mexico. The worm
was fat and white and somewhat dangerous looking with great hallucinogenic
properties attributed to it. You were supposed to eat it and it was
supposed to make you so high you would need a stepladder to scratch your
ass. We’d see.” (Kinky Friedman, Greenwich Killing Time)


hypocrisis [Gk. “reply; (orator’s) delivery”] — Exaggerating an opponent’s gestures or speech habits in order to mock him. A form of parody.

“Blindly Chastity rushed deeper into the garden, her pulse beating madly. It
had been utter foolishness to follow such an ill-reputed gentleman from the
ballroom, but the naughty promises he had made had melted her coy
resistance. Yet, she had not consented to being mauled and pawed, her bodice
ripped, her skirts shredded until her ivory thighs
were bared. Being a feisty and independent young woman, she had elbowed the
cad in an impolite place and made her escape. But the inquisitive need he
had aroused still burned in her blood. She had escaped the foul desires of
that man, but she could not escape herself.”
(Katarina Wikholm, “The Garden of Earthly Delight”)

“Although the bulls have long cleared the streets, the young men were still
sweating and leaping for the amusement of the beautiful Spanish women. He
walked among them lamenting his own lost youth. The evening quickly fell
into clear night and all around the sounds of intoxicated voices wove around
him like a school of minnows caught in a strong undertow. He pushed open the
door to the closest watering hole and stood at the door for a moment before
going in. His name was Fred.” (badhemingway.com)


hypophora — Raising questions and answering them. (Also known as anthypophora.)

“What is honor? A word. What is in that word honor? What is that honor?
Air–a trim reckoning! Who hath it? He that died a Wednesday. Did he
feel it? No. Doth he hear it? No. ‘Tis insensible then? Yea, to the
dead. But will it not live with the living? No. Why? Detraction will not
suffer it. Therefore I’ll none of it. Honor is a mere scutcheon–and so ends
my catechism.” (Shakespeare, Henry IV, Part One V.i)

“You ask, what is our policy? I will say: It is to wage war, by sea, land,
and air, with all our might and all the strength that God can give us; to
wage war against a monstrous tyranny, never surpassed in the dark,
lamentable catalog of human crime. That is our policy. You ask, what is
our aim? I can answer in one word: Victory, victory at all costs, victory
in spite of all terror; victory, however long and hard the road may be; for
without victory, there is no survival.” (Winston Churchill, 13 May 1940)


hypotaxis — An arrangement of clauses or phrases in a dependent or subordinate relationship. (Opposite of parataxis … Gk. “subjection”)

“Let the reader be introduced to Joan Didion, upon whose character and
doings much will depend of whatever interest these pages may have, as she
sits at her writing table in her own room in her own house on Welbeck
Street.” (Joan Didion, Democracy)


hysteron proteron — Placing first a word that in terms of sense should come last. [Gk. “hinder-foremost”]

“That time of year thou mayst in me behold
When yellow leaves, or none, or few do hang”
(Shakespeare, Sonnet 73)

“He was bred and born a gentleman.”


identification — As defined by rhetorician Kenneth Burke, identification is “any of the wide variety of means by which an author may establish a shared sense of values, attitudes, and interests with his readers.” Of course, as Burke goes on to maintain, “identification is affirmed with earnestness . . . precisely because there is division.”

“Friendship, lust, love, art, religion–we rush into them pleading,
fighting, clamoring for the touch of spirit laid against our spirit. Why
else would you be reading this fragmentary page–you with the book in your
lap? You’re not out to learn anything, certainly. You just want the
healing action of some chance corroboration, the soporific of spirit laid
against spirit” (E. B. White, One Man’s Meat)

“Most writers find the world and themselves interchangeable.” (E. B. White, Wild Flag)


induction — Method of reasoning by which a rhetor collects a number of instances and forms a generalization that is meant to apply to all instances.


invective — A discourse that casts blame on somebody or something. Petrarch’s
Invectives against the Doctor, for example, is an archetypical Renaissance confrontation of rhetoric and medicine, as well as a primitive encounter of Humanism and science, or at least pseudo-science.

“Maureen Dowd isn’t the worst newspaper columnist in the country. She’s not
even the worst columnist on the New York Times’s op-ed page. That
distinction belongs to Abe Rosenthal, the retired executive editor turned
ranting, purple-faced pundit. But Rosenthal isn’t the toast of the
commentariat; Dowd is. Her superficial, lightly reported, mean-spirited, and
utterly mainstream “Liberties” column has become one of the few must-reads
in the national press. Her personal life is the source of endless
fascination and speculation. (She’s currently rumored to be involved with
the actor Michael Douglas.) Her appearances on Imus in the Morning are as
rare, and as eagerly anticipated, as audiences with the pope. Call her our
most celebrated bad columnist.”
(Dan Kennedy, “Deconstructing the mean-spirited nihilism of Maureen Dowd”)


invented ethos — Proofs from character that are invented by a rhetor or are available by virtue of the rhetor’s position on an issue. Opposite of situated ethos.


invention — The first of the five canons of rhetoric; the art of finding available things to say or write in any situation.


irony — Use of words to convey the opposite of their literal meaning. [Gk. “dissembler”]

verbal irony: “O heavens! died two months ago and not forgotten yet? Then
there’s hope a great man’s memory may outlive his life half a year.”
(Shakespeare, Hamlet)

irony of situation: Shelley’s “Ozymandias”:

“I met a traveler from an antique land
Who said: `Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert. Near them, on the sand,
Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown,
And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command,
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
The hand that mocked them and the heart that fed.
And on the pedestal these words appear —
“My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:
Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!”
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare
The lone and level sands stretch far away.’ ”

dramatic irony: Sophocles’ Oedipus Rex


isocolon — A succession of phrases of approximately equal length and corresponding structure. [Gk. “of equal members or clauses”]

“The louder he talked of his honor, the faster we counted our spoons.” (Emerson)

“Never in the history of mankind have so many owed so much to so few.” (Churchill)

“The bigger they are, the harder they fall.”


kairos (Pronunciation: “KY ross”) — The opportune time and/or place, the right time to say or do the right thing. “Kairos is a word with layers of meaning; most usually, it is defined in terms of its Classical Greek courtroom nuances: winning an argument requires a deft combination of creating and recognizing the right time and right place for making the argument in the first place. However, the word has roots in both weaving (suggesting the creation of an opening) and archery (denoting the seizing of, and striking forcefully through, an opening).” (Eric Charles White)


litotesUnderstatement, or the expression of an affirmative by the negation of its opposite. [Gk. “plainness, simplicity”]

“The grave’s a fine a private place,
But none, I think, do there embrace.”
(Andrew Marvell, “To His Coy Mistress”)

“Some say the world will end in fire,
Some say in ice.
From what I’ve tasted of desire
I hold with those who favor fire.
But if I had to perish twice,
I think I know enough of hate
To say that for destruction ice
Is also great
And would suffice.”
(Robert Frost, “Fire and Ice”)


logos — In classical rhetoric, the means of persuasion by demonstration of the truth, real or apparent.


loose sentence — A sentence grammatically complete before the end (opposite of a periodic sentence). Phrases and clauses may give the appearance of being tacked on haphazardly.


malapropism [after Mrs. Malaprop, a character in Richard Sheridan’s play The Rivals, 1775] — A confused use of words in which an appropriate word is replaced by one with similar sound but (often ludicrously) inappropriate meaning.

“He is the very pineapple of politeness.” (Richard Sheridan, The Rivals)

“The doctor felt the man’s purse and said there was no hope.”
“The dog ran across the lawn, emitting whelps all along the way.”
“The walls of medieval cathedrals were supported by flying buttocks.”


maxim — A familiar saying; a bit of community wisdom.

“How easy it is to defeat people who do not kindle fire for themselves.” (Kenyan maxim)


meiosis — To belittle, use a degrading epithet, often through a trope of one work. [Gk. “lessening”]

“rhymester” for “poet”; “shrink” for “psychiatrist”


memory — The fourth canon of rhetoric.


metaphor — The traditional meaning of metaphor is an implied comparison between two unlike things that actually have something important in common. Roman Jakobson has identified metaphor and metonymy as the primary tropes, passing down to modern critical thinking a basic distinction between metaphor as indicating similarity and metonymy as revealing contiguity. Put another way, metaphor expresses the unfamiliar (the tenor) in terms of the familiar (the vehicle). When Neil Young sings, “Love is a rose,” rose is the vehicle for love, the tenor. Metaphors may be visual as well as verbal: one image in a commercial or one shot in a film, for instance, may function in some comparative way with a preceding image or shot. Christine Brooke-Rose (in A Grammar of Metaphor) settles on this plain definition: “metaphor . . . is any replacement of one word by another, or any identification of one thing, concept, or person with another.” [Gk. “transference”]

” Now is the winter of our discontent
Made glorious summer by this son of York.”
(Shakespeare, Richard III, I.i)

“The apparition of these faces in the crowd;
Petals on a wet. black bough.”
(Ezra Pound, “In a Station at the Metro”)

“My heart is a lonely hunter that hunts on a lonely hill.”
(William Sharp, “The Lonely Hunter”)

“Memory is a crazy woman that hoards colored rags and throws away food.”
(Austin O’Malley)


metonymy — Substitution of some attributive or suggestive word for what is meant (“crown for royalty”). In modern literary criticism, metonymy is often seen as the controlling trope for the loosely structured, open-ended works associated with post-modernism. Broadly viewed, metaphor indicates similarity, metonymy contiguity. [Gk. “substitute meaning”]

“I should have been a pair of ragged claws
Scuttling across the floors of silent seas.”
(T. S. Eliot’s “the Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock”)

“The pen is mightier than the sword.”

“Her voice is full of money.” (F. Scott Fitzgerald)


onomatopoeia — Formation of words in imitation of natural sounds. [Gk.”name-making”]

“[Aredelia] found Starling in the warm laundry room, dozing against the slow rump-rump of a washing machine.”
(Thomas Harris, The Silence of the Lambs)


oxymoron — The yoking of two terms that are ordinarily contradictory. [Gk. “sharp-dull”]

“That building is a little bit big and pretty ugly.”
(James Thurber)

“O miserable abundance, O beggarly riches!”
(Donne, Devotions Upon Emergent Occasions)

“Act naturally,” “found missing,” “alone together,” ‘”peace force,”

“terribly pleased,” “small crowd,” “clearly misunderstood.”


Next set–>>

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