variants: also rhetoric

Synonyms & Antonyms of rhetorical

1 marked by the use of impressive-sounding but mostly meaningless words and phrases
  • you can skip over the rhetorical passages and still get the gist of the essay

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2 full of fine words and fancy expressions
  • the new governor delivered a long rhetorical speech about our state's bright future but laid out no specific programs for ensuring it

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3 of or relating to words or language
  • the next war that those two nations fight won't be rhetorical—it will be with bombs and bullets

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The first known use of rhetorical was in the 15th century

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Cite this Entry

“Rhetorical.” Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 Sep. 2021.

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More from Merriam-Webster on rhetorical

Nglish: Translation of rhetorical for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of rhetorical for Arabic Speakers


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