Definition of rhetoric in English:



  • 1[mass noun] The art of effective or persuasive speaking or writing, especially the exploitation of figures of speech and other compositional techniques.

    ‘he is using a common figure of rhetoric, hyperbole’
    • ‘Born into a rich provincial family, he studied philosophy as well as rhetoric and law.’
    • ‘The devices of rhetoric, however, did not lose their links with poetry or their practical ties with the law.’
    • ‘Gellert's lectures on poetry, rhetoric, and ethics were exceptionally popular.’
    • ‘They may have seen themselves as reviving a more ancient tradition, that of rhetoric.’
    • ‘This rhetoric was imitated in Elizabethan schools and began to make an impact on the stage.’
    • ‘Invoke the slippery slope and construct a straw man to knock down with one fell swoop of rhetoric.’
    • ‘As an ability, rhetoric is observable when people choose to engage in it.’
    • ‘Much of the earlier writing is political rhetoric; much of the later is album verse.’
    • ‘It may well be that the cities no longer had the resources to support a roster of teachers of grammar and rhetoric.’
    • ‘The problem is that using modernist rhetoric does not make one modern.’
    • ‘In short, one can take the science out of rhetoric but not the rhetoric out of science.’
    • ‘In the late twentieth century rhetoric has been revived as the study of the structuring powers of discourse.’
    • ‘Young Athenian democrats needed rhetoric to persuade the democratic assemblies.’
    • ‘But both these opposite models of our selves are equally powerful in current rhetoric.’
    • ‘From this perspective, Ovidian rhetoric works to conceal the very desire that organizes it.’
    • ‘It is the common rhetoric in the aftermath of wars that, with the war once won, the peace must not then be lost.’
    • ‘He too is the victim of the fashionable notion of rhetoric, logic and truth that was so widely admired at the time.’
    • ‘In either case, we can see that both argument and rhetoric are designed to persuade and impress.’
    • ‘But during his twenties he was not only teaching Latin literature and the arts of rhetoric.’
    • ‘Are the audience really shocked into new ideas about rhetoric, oppression and language?’
    oratory, eloquence, power of speech, command of language, expression, way with words, delivery, diction
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    1. 1.1Language designed to have a persuasive or impressive effect, but which is often regarded as lacking in sincerity or meaningful content.
      ‘all we have from the Opposition is empty rhetoric’
      • ‘As a result, his promises have raised the art of empty rhetoric to new heights.’
      • ‘It is as if everyone has been given a dictionary of war rhetoric to make us believe we are fighting for a reason.’
      • ‘You want to keep on pouring out the same old toxic separatist and communalist rhetoric.’
      • ‘I have been impressed by rhetoric on dealing with inefficiency in the public services.’
      • ‘It actually shows up the huge amount of rhetoric and empty wording piece by piece.’
      • ‘The Old Man, as he is known, would not want to be seen as the hapless prisoner of his own empty rhetoric.’
      • ‘Behind all the pomp and the communist rhetoric, this is a peace loving country.’
      • ‘Many parties sound the same in their rhetoric and even look alike in their symbols.’
      • ‘Don't simply opt for apparently powerful but ultimately empty, meaningless rhetoric.’
      • ‘We must implement a health strategy that puts patients first, not empty rhetoric.’
      • ‘The old trade union slogan ‘An injury to one is an injury to all’ is not just empty rhetoric.’
      • ‘Problems pile up but important Ministers are content to keep their date with rhetoric.’
      • ‘He delights in personal enrichment and seems to be lacking in political rhetoric.’
      • ‘Is it no more than rhetoric, designed to scare the mullahs and force them to drop their nuclear programme?’
      • ‘I am a sucker for rhetoric and a bit of uplift in some circumstances can be helpful.’
      • ‘The visit should not be seen by the Acehnese as another act of empty rhetoric by Jakarta.’
      • ‘In their moment, election slogans, rhetoric and symbols seem to mean so very much.’
      • ‘Like the style of their rhetoric, the content of their arguments was stirring; it was arousing.’
      • ‘Such insipid, sophomoric rhetoric is best left in the empty heads that created it.’
      • ‘And you know, in the case of the captain, that is more than just empty rhetoric.’
      bombast, loftiness, turgidity, grandiloquence, magniloquence, ornateness, portentousness, pomposity, boastfulness, boasting, bragging, heroics, hyperbole, extravagant language, purple prose, pompousness, sonorousness
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Middle English: from Old French rethorique, via Latin from Greek rhētorikē (tekhnē) (art) of rhetoric, from rhētōr rhetor.