from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition
- adj. Of or relating to rhetoric.
- adj. Characterized by overelaborate or bombastic rhetoric.
- adj. Used for persuasive effect: a speech punctuated by rhetorical pauses.
from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License
- adj. Part of or similar to rhetoric, which is the use of language as a means to persuade.
- adj. Not earnest, or presented only for the purpose of an argument
from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English
- adj. Of or pertaining to rhetoric; according to, or exhibiting, rhetoric; oratorical
from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- Pertaining to, of the nature of, or containing rhetoric; oratorical: as, the rhetorical art; a rhetorical treatise; a rhetorical flourish.
- In some colleges in the United States, rhetorical exercises (declamations, etc.) held publicly before all the students of the college.
from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.
- adj. of or relating to rhetoric
- adj. given to rhetoric, emphasizing style at the expense of thought
My friend Gary periodically performs what he calls "rhetorical surgery" on himself, excising from his vocabulary a word that feels drained of all meaning.
BASH: After Republican Jeff Sessions asked nearly a dozen questions about her controversial comment that a wise Latina woman could make a better judgment, Sotomayor backed off what she called a rhetorical flourish that fell flat.
You are what we call a rhetorical thug when it comes to this whole issue of patriotism.
MANJI: Glenn, this is what we call a rhetorical question.
PHILLIPS: Obama also noted that Senator Biden is prone to what he described as rhetorical flourishes.
Just before we settled down for the night a man came and asked if we could store a case for him - as we were the only westerners in the carriage we agreed - I think it was what you called a rhetorical question.
Nonetheless, the term is very popular in rhetorical clichés, especially in spoken English:
His reactions to the newscast result in rhetorical incredulity that is the backbone of the humor, but which is essentially the same as a stand-up routine and after awhile loses “the funny.”
Now that we've been shown the evidence and it resonates more than it did when our war with Iran was couched in rhetorical or philosophical terms, the question is what should we do?
Using the term “Obamacare” signals that you do not intend to present a serious argument but instead are interested in rhetorical scare tactics and divisiveness.