noun rhet·o·ric \ˈre-tə-rik\

: language that is intended to influence people and that may not be honest or reasonable

: the art or skill of speaking or writing formally and effectively especially as a way to persuade or influence people

Full Definition of RHETORIC

:  the art of speaking or writing effectively: as
a :  the study of principles and rules of composition formulated by critics of ancient times
b :  the study of writing or speaking as a means of communication or persuasion
a :  skill in the effective use of speech
b :  a type or mode of language or speech; also :  insincere or grandiloquent language
:  verbal communication :  discourse

Examples of RHETORIC

  1. a college course in rhetoric
  2. <the mayor's promise to fight drugs was just rhetoric, since there was no money in the city budget for a drug program>
  3. The media almost never discuss what the sweeping dismantling of public services inherent in the rhetoric of the antigovernment movement would mean in practice. —E. J. Dionne, Jr., Commonweal, 20 Nov. 2009

Origin of RHETORIC

Middle English rethorik, from Anglo-French rethorique, from Latin rhetorica, from Greek rhētorikē, literally, art of oratory, from feminine of rhētorikos of an orator, from rhētōr orator, rhetorician, from eirein to say, speak — more at word
First Known Use: 14th century

Other Grammar and Linguistics Terms

ablaut, allusion, anacoluthon, diacritic, gerund, idiom, infinitive, metaphor, semiotics, simile


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