Definition of rhetorical in English:

rhetorical

adjective

  • 1Relating to or concerned with the art of rhetoric.

    ‘repetition is a common rhetorical device’
    • ‘In a work of literature Stewart's lies would constitute synecdoche, the rhetorical device in which a part stands for the whole.’
    • ‘A similar rhetorical device is used to make numbers of weapons appear shocking.’
    • ‘In mentioning the range of the rhetorical lexicon we are not simply talking about lists of tropes and figures.’
    • ‘At minimum, the seller must establish enough of the attributes of attachment to establish the rhetorical framework for persuasion.’
    • ‘That's a nice little rhetorical trick, to pretend that the only possible omnivorous diet must be an unhealthy fast food one.’
    • ‘It presents an example of Chicana feminist rhetoric and an inroad to this rhetorical tradition.’
    • ‘Unlike Goodman, he stopped short of action by private individuals, but this may have been a rhetorical device.’
    • ‘That is, the songs' rhetorical strategies paralleled those of epideictic speeches.’
    • ‘Yet isn't prosopopeia a rhetorical device that is found, as a matter of course, in all poetry?’
    • ‘It is a rhetorical strategy in which scriptural quotations, typologies, or tropes are used for satirical ends.’
    • ‘This, she shows, is a rhetorical device, with no implication that the dead can actually communicate.’
    • ‘This is an argument from the field of descriptive linguistics, made for a rhetorical audience of laypeople.’
    • ‘Such an ambivalence would make for incoherence and would be hard to accept if we had here mere rhetorical devices and style recipes.’
    • ‘The word dignitas was a Latin rhetorical and political term that indicated either the possession of high political or social rank or the moral qualities associated with it.’
    • ‘Hamlet as a play is similarly preoccupied by slander, misrepresentation and selves fabricated from the nothings of rhetorical tropes.’
    • ‘It should be made clear that India in this regard is a synecdoche (a term of rhetorical analysis for a part which stands for the whole).’
    • ‘It can not be guaranteed by either rhetoric or philosophy, by rhetorical pragmatism or foundationalist theory.’
    • ‘Farewells are commonly used rhetorical tools intended to invite the listener/reader into the moment.’
    • ‘Ovid's chiasmus is a rhetorical picture of the lovers being pulled apart.’
    • ‘Once a commentator commits a major rhetorical gaffe or colossal misstatement of fact, it becomes impossible to take them seriously.’
    stylistic, oratorical, linguistic, verbal
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1Expressed in terms intended to persuade or impress.
      ‘the rhetorical commitment of the government to give priority to primary education’
      • ‘Successive governments have also proclaimed the goal of lifting growth rates, but too often their commitment has been rhetorical only.’
      • ‘With previous Tory leaders, there was at least a rhetorical commitment to a return on the investment through tax cuts.’
      • ‘A broad rhetorical commitment to this ideal coexisted with stringent restrictions on speech deemed radical or obscene.’
      • ‘People in developing nations do not need empty rhetorical commitments to alleviating the most extreme manifestations of poverty.’
      • ‘But not overly strong on our sense of irony, if the rhetorical bombast of this article is anything to go by.’
      • ‘Are their preferences driven less by political persuasions and by rhetorical flourishes and more by the economic bottomline?’
      • ‘Nevertheless, it may be that Paul's rhetorical strategy can still be persuasive on another level.’
      • ‘But one has to be aware of the rhetorical value that these terms are going to have.’
      • ‘The article is almost purely rhetorical, with virtually nothing of substance offered in terms of legal arguments.’
      • ‘Perhaps in the end, the equal opportunity principle is a matter of rhetorical commitment more than practical credo.’
      • ‘While he has shown a rhetorical commitment to reform, progress on the ground has been glacial.’
      • ‘Few were willing to make more than a rhetorical commitment to revolutionary activism.’
      • ‘As well as being badly written, it is too long, too vague, too pompous, too rhetorical, too unrealistic and too boring.’
      • ‘The impression is of rhetorical rings being run round Hamerton.’
      • ‘In the second phase it will be necessary to be practical as well as rhetorical, to persuade as well as instruct.’
      • ‘The bottom line is that the party maintains a rhetorical commitment to small government but tacitly admits that their cause is hopeless.’
      • ‘The question I think that we're going to ask is, is this a rhetorical commitment or is there something larger here?’
      • ‘But even a rhetorical commitment to sending back the money was influential, not least in the political development of Frederick Douglass, as we shall see.’
      • ‘Imperialism is a term often used as a rhetorical flourish and definitions vary especially in academic discourse and social discussion tracts.’
      • ‘But the president has a rhetorical commitment which is hard to ditch.’
    2. 1.2(of a question) asked in order to produce an effect or to make a statement rather than to elicit information.
      • ‘I ask these not as rhetorical questions and not as a prelude to an intelligent statement that explains exactly how it ends.’
      • ‘She can only be answered with more rhetorical questions.’
      • ‘Adding to the list of rhetorical questions, why did the teenage daughter have such low standards for her boyfriend?’
      • ‘Kyle didn't offer him the time to answer the rather rhetorical question.’
      • ‘Isn't it ineffective to make statements over and over again in the form of rhetorical questions?’
      • ‘I wasn't sure if this was a rhetorical question or not.’
      • ‘It might be a rather petulant rhetorical question, or he might just be trying to keep me on the phone.’
      • ‘That's not a rhetorical question; I'd really like to know.’
      • ‘People waffle, ramble and throw rhetorical questions into the ether in their blogs, or even just imply that they might wish for a better way round a certain situation.’
      • ‘But, since the Doctor's question was obviously rhetorical, I'm willing to let it slide.’
      • ‘Why does Billmon keep asking these rhetorical questions?’
      • ‘The poem avoids question marks not just because Merwin has eschewed all punctuation, but also because his questions are rhetorical.’
      • ‘It's in keeping with the rest of this discursive, stimulating book that Kermode leaves the reader with such a provocative, rhetorical question.’
      • ‘Don't worry, these are all rhetorical questions.’
      • ‘Before I even ask a rhetorical question of how you feel about this, it has been such a joy to watch you come out here these past three weeks, and put your heart and soul into it.’
      • ‘Rather he makes an antagonistic statement, couched as a rhetorical question.’
      • ‘It was a statement, a rhetorical question, and just by looking at her he was sure that it had made her angry.’
      • ‘This isn't a rhetorical question but one that, again, would help show whether they're applying this rule fairly or arbitrarily.’
      • ‘Mr Henderson's rhetorical question can be easily answered.’
      • ‘I don't regard that as a rhetorical question: there is an answer.’

Origin

Late Middle English (first used in the sense eloquently expressed): via Latin from Greek rhētorikos (from rhētor rhetor) + -al.

Pronunciation:

rhetorical

/rəˈtôrək(ə)l/