Definition of protreptic in English:



  • Intended to persuade or instruct.

    ‘the dialogues have a protreptic function’
    • ‘He put his literary skills, human experience, and common sense at the service of his protreptic and paedagogic purpose.’
    • ‘Punk is sometimes effective in articulating a critique of capitalism with a protreptic energy capable of positioning its audience in struggles over justice and social change.’
    • ‘This text belongs to the well-established genre in ancient philosophy of protreptic or exhortational literature.’
    • ‘The 'protreptic' passage in the Euthydemus anticipates the Stoics in its claim that what are called 'goods' (health, wealth, and so on) are not really so.’
    • ‘He identifies Romans as "a deliberative discourse which uses an epistolary framework and in some ways comports with a protreptic letter."’


  • A piece of writing or speech intended to persuade or instruct.

    ‘ancient philosophical protreptics’
    • ‘Plato's attempt to argue for the split between the intelligible and sensible world in Books VI and VII of the Republic may well be a protreptic directed at Archytas, who refused to separate numbers from things.’
    • ‘His elegant epistles, brilliant treatises, and eloquent protreptics for asceticism appeared to promise him great things.’
    • ‘His work is a protreptic to the contemplation of God.’
    • ‘Plato felt he had literary rivals, and this may explain this somewhat odd combination of esoterism, protreptic and apology in a literarily brilliant form.’
    • ‘Obviously no pupil of Plato who was acquainted with the main parts of the Republic could have blamed Socrates for concerning himself merely with protreptics in political ethics.’
    enjoinder, call, charge, injunction
    View synonyms


Mid 17th century: via late Latin from Greek protreptikos ‘instructive’, from pro- ‘before’ + trepein ‘to turn’.