from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th 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.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • 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.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • 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.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Rhetorical; formerly, eloquent.
  • n. The art of discourse; the art of using language so as to influence others.
  • 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.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • 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 The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

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.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Latin rhētorica, from Ancient Greek ῥητορική (rhētorikē), feminine form of ῥητορικός (rhētorikos, "concerning public speech"), from ῥήτωρ (rhētōr, "public speaker").



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  • !

    September 22, 2011

  • Ha ha!

    September 22, 2011

  • I love this bit from the Century: "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.)."

    I'd guess Charles Sanders Peirce had something to do with this definition.

    September 22, 2011