American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition
- n. The art or study of using language effectively and persuasively.
- n. A treatise or book discussing this art.
- n. Skill in using language effectively and persuasively.
- n. A style of speaking or writing, especially the language of a particular subject: fiery political rhetoric.
- n. Language that is elaborate, pretentious, insincere, or intellectually vacuous: His offers of compromise were mere rhetoric.
- n. Verbal communication; discourse.
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. The art of discourse; the art of using language so as to influence others. Rhetoric is that art which consists in a systematic use of the technical means of influencing the minds, imaginations, emotions, and actions of others by the use of language. Primarily, it is the art of oratory, with inclusion of both composition and delivery; secondarily, it also includes written composition and recitation. It is also used in narrower senses, so as to present the idea of composition alone, or the idea of oratorical delivery (elocution) alone. Etymologically, rhetoric is the art, or rather the technics (
τέχνη, somewhat, different in scope from our art), of the rhetor—that is, either the popular (political) orator or the judicial and professional rhetor. Accordingly, ancient writers regarded it mainly as the art of persuasion, and something of this view almost always attaches to the word even in modern use, so that it appears to be more or less inappropriate to use rhetoric of mere scientific, didactic, or expository composition. The element of persuasion, or at least of influence of thought, belongs, however, to such composition also in so far as accurate and well-arranged statement of views leads to their adoption or rejection, the very object of instruction involving this. On the other hand, poetry and epidictic oratory chiefly address the imagination and emotions, while the most important branches of oratory (deliberative and judicial oratory) appeal especially to the mind and emotions with a view to influencing immediate action. The theory or science underlying the art of rhetoric, and sometimes called by the same name, is essentially a creation of the ancient Greeks. Rhetoric was cultivated on its more practical side first of all by the earlier rhetors (so-called “sophists”) and orators (Em pedocles—considered the inventor of rhetoric—Gorgias, Isocrates, etc.), many of whom wrote practical treatises ( τέχναι) on the art. The philosophers, on the other hand, among them Aristotle, treated the subject from the theoretical side. The system of rhetoric which finally became established, and has never been superseded, though largely mutilated and misunderstood in medieval and modern times, is that founded upon the system of the Stoic philosophers by the practical rhetorician Hermagoras (about 60 b. c.). Its most important extant representatives are Hermogenes (about a. d). 165) among the Greeks, and Quintilian (about a. d. 95) among the Latins. This theory recognizes three great divisions of oratory. (See oratory.) The art of rhetoric was divided into five parts: invention, disposition, elocution (not in the modern sense, but comprising diction and style), memory (mnemonics), and action (delivery, including the modern elocution).
- n. Skill in discourse; artistic use of language.
- n. Artificial oratory, as opposed to that which is natural and unaffected; display in language; ostentatious or meretricious declamation.
- n. The power of persuasion; persuasive influence.
- n. Synonyms Elocution, Eloquence, etc. See oratory.
- Rhetorical; formerly, eloquent.
- adj. Synonym of rhetorical.
- n. The art of using language, especially public speaking, as a means to persuade.
- n. Meaningless language with an exaggerated style intended to impress.
GNU Webster's 1913
- n. The art of composition; especially, elegant composition in prose.
- n. Oratory; the art of speaking with propriety, elegance, and force.
- n. Hence, artificial eloquence; fine language or declamation without conviction or earnest feeling.
- n. Fig. : The power of persuasion or attraction; that which allures or charms.
- n. study of the technique and rules for using language effectively (especially in public speaking)
- n. loud and confused and empty talk
- n. using language effectively to please or persuade
- n. high-flown style; excessive use of verbal ornamentation
- From Latin rhētorica, from Ancient Greek ῥητορική (rhētorikē), feminine form of ῥητορικός (rhētorikos, "concerning public speech"), from ῥήτωρ (rhētōr, "public speaker"). (Wiktionary)
- Middle English rethorik, from Old French rethorique, from Latin rhētoricē, rhētorica, from Greek rhētorikē (tekhnē), rhetorical (art), feminine of rhētorikos, rhetorical, from rhētōr, rhetor; see rhetor. (American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
“For instance, if you heard a man say, 'The _rhetoric_ of Cicero is not fitted to challenge much interest,' you might naturally understand it of the particular style and rhetorical colouring -- which was taxed with being florid; nay, Rhodian; nay, even Asiatic -- that characterizes that great orator's compositions; or, again, the context might so restrain the word as to _force_ it into meaning the particular system or theory of rhetoric addressed to”
“Avoiding a shift to the right in rhetoric is neither a matter of principle nor honor, so he felt free to do so in order to win re-election.”
“Even though he personally does not think much of ID, his anti-Darwin rhetoric is a big part of ID.”
“And part of that equation is at least the willingness in rhetoric from the dem president to make it plausible to claim GOP obstructionism.”
“According to a piece in today's Wall Street Journal, the Obama rhetoric is the greater crisis ... not the facts of the economic downturn.”
“If the policies are right, does it matter that the rhetoric is ahistorical and absurd?”
“Could someone tell Boehner his rhetoric is a tad old.”
“Your rhetoric is the quickest way to continued war.”
““De-escalation of the rhetoric is the first step,” John Robb told me.”
“There are some people who would argue that arresting would-be terrorists for their rhetoric is the only way to prevent future attacks.”
These user-created lists contain the word ‘rhetoric’.
Building a list for standardized test prep or just for learning some new words! Please add any words that you feel are important for the SAT/GRE/GMAT etc...
A list of words that are odd or words that I have looked up.
Collected from reading
Key words from "The Training of a Public Speaker" by Grenville Kleiser (New York and London, 1920)
Culturally defined terms and expressions from the four corners of the world
Going through the Magoosh website, words I pulled from the verbal section. 2012.
Know these common SAT words
Hard words level 1
Looking for tweets for rhetoric.