Words at Play : Big Words on Campus

#4: Rhetoric

Definition:

: the study of writing or speaking as a means of communication or persuasion

Example:

"Rhetoric courses help students to develop skills in speaking, writing, listening, and critical reading. They also build competence in research and inquiry as well as in analysis and persuasion, especially in the area of understanding public controversies in their social contexts." — University of Iowa General Catalog

About the Word:

Since the ancients, educators have been teaching the skills of eloquent speaking and writing. (The Greek word rhētorikē literally meant "art of oratory.") But smooth talking makes people suspicious, which is why one modern sense of rhetoric is "insincere or grandiloquent language."

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