Definition of rhetoric in English:



  • 1The art of effective or persuasive speaking or writing, especially the use of figures of speech and other compositional techniques.

    • ‘Gellert's lectures on poetry, rhetoric, and ethics were exceptionally popular.’
    • ‘From this perspective, Ovidian rhetoric works to conceal the very desire that organizes it.’
    • ‘Are the audience really shocked into new ideas about rhetoric, oppression and language?’
    • ‘It is the common rhetoric in the aftermath of wars that, with the war once won, the peace must not then be lost.’
    • ‘The problem is that using modernist rhetoric does not make one modern.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘In either case, we can see that both argument and rhetoric are designed to persuade and impress.’
    • ‘In the late twentieth century rhetoric has been revived as the study of the structuring powers of discourse.’
    • ‘As an ability, rhetoric is observable when people choose to engage in it.’
    • ‘The devices of rhetoric, however, did not lose their links with poetry or their practical ties with the law.’
    • ‘But during his twenties he was not only teaching Latin literature and the arts of rhetoric.’
    • ‘They may have seen themselves as reviving a more ancient tradition, that of rhetoric.’
    • ‘Born into a rich provincial family, he studied philosophy as well as rhetoric and law.’
    • ‘This rhetoric was imitated in Elizabethan schools and began to make an impact on the stage.’
    • ‘But both these opposite models of our selves are equally powerful in current rhetoric.’
    • ‘He too is the victim of the fashionable notion of rhetoric, logic and truth that was so widely admired at the time.’
    • ‘In short, one can take the science out of rhetoric but not the rhetoric out of science.’
    • ‘Young Athenian democrats needed rhetoric to persuade the democratic assemblies.’
    • ‘Invoke the slippery slope and construct a straw man to knock down with one fell swoop of rhetoric.’
    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 on its audience, but often regarded as lacking in sincerity or meaningful content.
      ‘all we have from the opposition is empty rhetoric’
      • ‘The visit should not be seen by the Acehnese as another act of empty rhetoric by Jakarta.’
      • ‘Don't simply opt for apparently powerful but ultimately empty, meaningless rhetoric.’
      • ‘The Old Man, as he is known, would not want to be seen as the hapless prisoner of his own empty rhetoric.’
      • ‘Problems pile up but important Ministers are content to keep their date with rhetoric.’
      • ‘I am a sucker for rhetoric and a bit of uplift in some circumstances can be helpful.’
      • ‘Behind all the pomp and the communist rhetoric, this is a peace loving country.’
      • ‘As a result, his promises have raised the art of empty rhetoric to new heights.’
      • ‘Many parties sound the same in their rhetoric and even look alike in their symbols.’
      • ‘He delights in personal enrichment and seems to be lacking in political rhetoric.’
      • ‘It actually shows up the huge amount of rhetoric and empty wording piece by piece.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘And you know, in the case of the captain, that is more than just empty rhetoric.’
      • ‘In their moment, election slogans, rhetoric and symbols seem to mean so very much.’
      • ‘Is it no more than rhetoric, designed to scare the mullahs and force them to drop their nuclear programme?’
      • ‘The old trade union slogan ‘An injury to one is an injury to all’ is not just empty rhetoric.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘I have been impressed by rhetoric on dealing with inefficiency in the public services.’
      • ‘We must implement a health strategy that puts patients first, not 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.