edited by Meagan Ayer et al.


Grammatical Terms

Anacoluthon: a change of construction in the same sentence, leaving the first part broken or unfinished.

Anastrophe: inversion of the usual word order.

Apodosis: the conclusion of a condition sentence (see Protasis).

Archaism: an adoption of old or obsolete forms.

Asyndeton: omission of conjunctions (§ 323.b)

Barbarism: adoption of foreign or unauthorized forms.

Brachylogy: brevity of expression

Crasis: contraction of two vowels into one (§ 15.3)

Ellipsis: omission of  word or words necessary to complete the sense.

Enallage: substitution of one word or form for another.

Epenthesis: insertion of a letter or syllable.

Hellenism: use of Greek forms or constructions.

Hendiadys (ἓν διὰ δυοῖν): the use of two nouns, with a conjunction, instead of a single modified noun.

Hypallage: interchange of constructions.1

Hysteron proteron: a reversing of the natural order of ideas.

Metathesis: transpostion of letters ina  word.

Paragoge: addition of a letter of letters to the end of a word.

Parenthesis: insertion of a phrase interrupting the construction.

Periphrasis: a roundabout way of expression (circumlocution).

Pleonasm: the use of needless words.

Polysyndeton: the use of an unecessary number of copulative conjunctions.

Prolepsis: the use of a word in the clause preceeding where it would naturally appear (anticipation).

Protasis: a clause introduced by a conditional expression (if, when, whoever), leading to a clonclusion called the Apodosis (§ 512).

Syncope: omission of a letter or syllable from the middle of a word.

Synesis (cōnstrūctiō ad sēnsum): agreement of words according to the sense, and not the grammatical form (§ 280.a)

Tmesis: the separation of the two parts of a compound word by other words (cutting).2

Zeugma: the use of a verb or an adjective with two different words, to only one of which it strictly applies (yoking).


Rhetorical Figures

Allegory: a narrative in which abstract ideas figure as circumstances, events, or persons, in order to enforce some moral truth.

Alliteration: the use of several words that begin with the same sound.

Analogy: argument from resemblences.

Anaphora: the repitition of a word at the beginning of successive clauses. (§ 598.f)

Antithesis: opposition, or contrast of parts ( for emphasis: § 598.f)

Antonomasis: use of a proper ofr a common noun, or the reverse.

Sint Maecēnātēs, nōn deerunt, Flacce, Marōnēs. (Mart. viii.56.5) So there be patrons (like Maecenas), poets (like Virgil) will not be lacking, Flacccus.

illa furia et pestis that fury and plague (i.e. Cldoius)

Homēromastīx scourge of Homer (i.e. Zoilus)

Aposiopesis: an abrupt pause for rhetorical effect.

Catachresis: a harsh metaphor (abūsiō misuse of words).

Chiasmus: a reversing of the order of words in corresponding pairs of phrases (§ 598.f).

Climax: a gradual increase of emphasis, or enlargement of meaning.

Euphemism: the mild expression of a painful or repulsive idea.

sī quid eī accederit if anything happens to him (i.e. if he dies)

Euphony: the choice of words for their agreeable sound.

Hyperbaton: violation of the usual order of words.

Hyperbole: exaggeration for rhetorical effect.

Irony: the use of words which naturally convey a sense contrary to what is meant.

Litotes: the affirmingof a thing by denying its contrary (§ 326.c)

Metaphor: the figurative use of words, indicating an object by some resemblance.

Metonymy: the sue of the name of one thing to indicate some kindred thing.

Onomatopoeia: a fitting sound to the sense in the use of words.

Oxymoron: the use of contradictory words in the same phrase.

īnsāniēns sapientia foolish wisdom

Paranomosia: the use of words of like sound.

Prosopopoeia: personification

Simile: a figurative comparison (usually introduced by like, or as).

Synchesis: the interlocked order (§ 598.h)

Synedoche: the use of the name of a part for the whole, or the reverse.


1.This term applied to cases where the natural sequence of events is violated in language because the later event is of more importance than the earlier and so comes first to the mind. This was supposed to be an artificial embellishment in Greek, and so was imitated in Latin. Is is still found in artless narrative; cf. "Bred and Born in a Brier Bush" (Uncle Remus).

2. This term came from the earlier separation of prepositions (originally adverbs) from the verbs with which they were afterwards joined; so in per ecastor scītus puer (a very fine boy, egad!). As this was supossed to be intentional, it was ignorantly imitated in Latin; as in cere-comminuit-brum (Ennius).

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