adjective rhe·tor·i·cal \ri-ˈtr-i-kəl, -ˈtär-\

: of, relating to, or concerned with the art of speaking or writing formally and effectively especially as a way to persuade or influence people

of a question : asked in order to make a statement rather than to get an answer

Full Definition of RHETORICAL

a :  of, relating to, or concerned with rhetoric
b :  employed for rhetorical effect; especially :  asked merely for effect with no answer expected <a rhetorical question>
a :  given to rhetoric :  grandiloquent
b :  verbal
rhe·tor·i·cal·ly \-i-k(ə-)lē\ adverb

Variants of RHETORICAL

rhe·tor·i·cal also rhe·tor·ic \ri-ˈtr-ik, -ˈtär-\

Examples of RHETORICAL

  1. My question was rhetorical. I wasn't really expecting an answer.
  2. <you can skip over the rhetorical passages and still get the gist of the essay>
  3. McKinney made her name in Georgia politics as a rhetorical bomb-thrower. Colleagues in the statehouse dubbed her Hanoi Cynthia after a 1991 speech denouncing the Persian Gulf War. —Bill Turque, Newsweek, 29 Nov. 1993


(see rhetoric)
First Known Use: 15th century

Other Grammar and Linguistics Terms

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

Rhymes with RHETORICAL


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