Definition of rhetoric
1 : the art of speaking or writing effectively: such asa : the study of principles and rules of composition formulated by critics of ancient timesb : the study of writing or speaking as a means of communication or persuasion
Examples of rhetoric in a Sentence
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
What they are in reality are the romantic words of a man who needs glorious rhetoric to cover up murderous reality. —Pete Hamill, Cosmopolitan, April 1976
No speech could have been more thoroughly honest in its intention: the frigid rhetoric at the end was as sincere as the bark of a dog, or the cawing of an amorous rook. —George Eliot, Middlemarch, 1872
Otherwise he might have been a great general, blowing up all sorts of towns, or he might have been a great politician, dealing in all sorts of parliamentary rhetoric; but as it was, he and the Court of Chancery had fallen upon each other in the pleasantest way, and nobody was much the worse … —Charles Dickens, Bleak House, 1852-53
a college course in rhetoric
the mayor's promise to fight drugs was just rhetoric, since there was no money in the city budget for a drug program
Recent Examples of rhetoric from the Web
Instead, their rhetoric perpetuates the idea of Americans needing to arm themselves to, as many people interpret it, protect against black and brown terrorists.
While his delivery was every bit as stentorian as promised, the quality of Rees-Mogg’s rhetoric and sly humor far outstripped that of the others on his own side as well as his opponents.
And yet, in the background, the original object of Trump’s hateful rhetoric still holds a place in his heart.
Other politicians also spoke out against the merger, though some confused Time Warner with Time Warner Cable so have since backed off the rhetoric.
Most were forwards and simply inflammatory rhetoric, which was easily refuted.
Indeed, everyday people were realizing that a map was an act of persuasion, a visual rhetoric.
So what does Ahmed think of all the anti-immigrant, anti-refugee rhetoric swirling around these days?
This time around, Chinese students have used some of the same rhetoric as the Chinese government to oppose the Dalai Lama.
These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'rhetoric.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.
Origin and Etymology 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 centurySee Words from the same year
RHETORIC Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of rhetoric for English Language Learners
: 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
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