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Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English
▪ All the noise being made about the hostages at that time was just political rhetoric.
▪ Coming in the midst of a presidential campaign, the air attack has generated the inevitable political rhetoric, bombast and pressure.
▪ But how are we to cut through the political rhetoric to see what lies behind the disagreement?
▪ All the political rhetoric about big government protecting the weak and the poor is coming into question as well.
▪ This political rhetoric would lead one to suppose that the subsequent proposals would be of an equally clear political substance.
▪ We should now cast aside all the political rhetoric of the campaign.
▪ As democracy is, at present, the only permissible political rhetoric, the ruling class duly speaks its language.
▪ Rome shocked me by flouting the conventional political rhetoric of environmentalists.
▪ In the ensuing campaign, Thorne, Jones and their supporters exploited populist rhetoric on the war.
▪ Or are they simply reacting emotionally to finely crafted television commercials and populist rhetoric?
▪ Newman was a master of populist medical rhetoric.
▪ Behind a veil of revolutionary rhetoric, the Council of People's Commissars suppressed the masses' striving for liberty.
▪ Don't try to fool us with all those facts and bureaucratic rhetoric.
▪ the rhetoric of campaigning politicians
▪ Emanuel Shinwell's rhetoric, and the arguments which Crosland himself had developed in his writing, could not be brushed aside.
▪ Gingrich, however, is loathe to give up the familiar anti-Washington rhetoric that proved so popular in recent campaigns.
▪ In an interesting discussion of varieties of egalitarianism, Plant attacks the rhetoric that links freedom only with consumer choice.
▪ Indeed, since the Dec. 24 election Mr Erbakan has been backpedaling on much of his campaign rhetoric.
▪ Mr Papandreou's Pasok, embittered and demoralised, remains unable to evolve from unreconstructed popularism and anti-right rhetoric.
▪ Pyongyang limited itself to rhetoric, and was cautious even in its comments about the dramatic developments in the South.
▪ The answer must be hope that things might just improve; that one day soon reality will match rhetoric.
▪ With the election just two weeks away, the rhetoric on both sides is building.
The Collaborative International Dictionary

Rhetoric \Rhet"o*ric\, n. [F. rh['e]torique, L. rhetorica, Gr. ???? (sc. ???), fr. ??? rhetorical, oratorical, fr. ??? orator, rhetorician; perhaps akin to E. word; cf. ??? to say.]

  1. The art of composition; especially, elegant composition in prose.

  2. Oratory; the art of speaking with propriety, elegance, and force.

  3. Hence, artificial eloquence; fine language or declamation without conviction or earnest feeling.

  4. Fig. : The power of persuasion or attraction; that which allures or charms.

    Sweet, silent rhetoric of persuading eyes.

Douglas Harper's Etymology Dictionary

early 14c., from Old French rethorique, from Latin rhetorice, from Greek rhetorike techne "art of an orator," from rhetor (genitive rhetoros) "speaker, orator, teacher of rhetoric," related to rhesis "speech," rhema "word, phrase, verb," literally "that which is spoken," from PIE *wre-tor-, from root *were- (3) "to speak" (cognates: Old English word, Latin verbum, Greek eirein "to say;" see verb).


a. (synonym of rhetorical English) n. 1 The art of using language, especially public speaking, as a means to persuade. 2 meaningless language with an exaggerated style intended to impress.

  1. n. using language effectively to please or persuade

  2. high flown style; excessive use of verbal ornamentation [syn: grandiosity, magniloquence, grandiloquence]

  3. loud and confused and empty talk; "mere rhetoric" [syn: palaver, hot air, empty words, empty talk]

  4. study of the technique and rules for using language effectively (especially in public speaking)

Rhetoric (Aristotle)

Aristotle's Rhetoric ( Greek: Ῥητορική; Latin: Ars Rhetorica) is an ancient Greek treatise on the art of persuasion, dating from the 4th century BC. The English title varies: typically it is titled Rhetoric, the Art of Rhetoric, or a Treatise on Rhetoric.


Rhetoric (pronounced ) is the art of discourse, an art that aims to improve the capability of writers or speakers to inform, most likely to persuade, or motivate particular audiences in specific situations. As a subject of formal study and a productive civic practice, rhetoric has played a central role in the European tradition. Its best known definition comes from Aristotle, who considers it a counterpart of both logic and politics, and calls it "the faculty of observing in any given case the available means of persuasion." Rhetoric typically provides heuristics for understanding, discovering, and developing arguments for particular situations, such as Aristotle's three persuasive audience appeals, logos, pathos, and ethos. The five canons of rhetoric, which trace the traditional tasks in designing a persuasive speech, were first codified in classical Rome: invention, arrangement, style, memory, and delivery. Along with grammar and logic (or dialectic—see Martianus Capella), rhetoric is one of the three ancient arts of discourse.

From Ancient Greece to the late 19th century, it was a central part of Western education, filling the need to train public speakers and writers to move audiences to action with arguments. The word is derived from the Greek rhētorikós, "oratorical", from rhḗtōr, "public speaker", related to rhêma, "that which is said or spoken, word, saying", and ultimately derived from the verb erō, "I say, I speak".

Usage examples of "rhetoric".

Rhetoric was a way of speaking, arguing, persuading, that was necessary in a democracy where the assemblies were large, where there were no microphones, and where it was necessary to sway others in debate.

While Robespierre deliberately worked alone, cultivating, Jean-Jacques-like, the austere isolation of the prophet, the Girondins played off each other like members of a string quartet, the cadence and tempo of their transcendent rhetoric rising and falling, swelling and fading with the effect they had on each other.

He had made his own reflections upon the tastelessness of the rhetoric, and the obvious buncombe of the motive, and he had not taken the matter seriously.

He learned sword-fighting and riding, swimming and diving, how to shoot with the bow and play on the recorder and the theorbo, how to hunt the stag and cut him up when he was dead, besides Cosmography, Rhetoric, Heraldry, Versification, and of course History, with a little Law, Physic, Alchemy, and Astronomy.

But when I heard him speak with beautiful flowers of rhetoric for the purpose of gilding the bitter pill, I could not help bursting into a joyous laughter, and I astounded his reverence when I expressed my readiness to go anywhere he might think right to send me.

Dostoevsky is in love with the freedoms released by the rhetoric of idiocy and the poetics of epilepsy.

Within western culture, there is a clear history of this mnemotechnic tradition, running back to Greek times, though the written record of the method is not Greek but Roman, and first appears in De Oratore, a famous text on the art of rhetoric - that is, of argument and debate - by the Roman politician and writer Cicero.

Drink of faith in the brains a full draught Before the oration: beware Lest rhetoric moonily waft Whither horrid activities snare.

Despite his rhetoric to the contrary, Clinton had a history of being a taxer and spender.

In May she wrote formally to the chairman of the academic board of Radcliffe College to be allowed to take the regular course: Since receiving my certificate of admission to Radcliffe last July, I have been studying with a private tutor, Horace, Aeschylus, French, German, Rhetoric, English History, English Literature and Criticism, and English Composition.

Thinly veiled, but never expressed overtly, was the idea that much of our assimilationist rhetoric arose in direct antithesis to the perceived practices of our many immigrants from Mexico.

Yet, instead of the simplicity of style and narrative which wins our belief, an elaborate affectation of rhetoric and science betrays in every page the vanity of a female author.

He describes the Grammar, the Rhetoric, the learned Profession, the Schools, the Exegesis, the Homilies, etc.

We can recognize here the three great figures of rhetoric: synecdoche, metonymy, catachresis.

Bar-nave, who was one of the most lucid observers of events, saw that the importance of the meeting was to shake loose opposition rhetoric from the grip of Parlementaire conservatism.