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rhetoric

noun

Definition: 1. speech or writing used to influence or persuade; 2. complex or elaborate language that sounds pretentious; 3. empty and pointless talk

Synonyms: eloquence, delivery, articulation, pomposity, affectation, oratory, grandiloquence, loftiness

Antonyms: simplicity (in speech or writing)

Tips: Rhetoric literally means the "art of oratory" or "of an orator," referring to public speaking. Think of "the art of public speaking" when learning this word. These days, it is generally used to refer to "empty talk." If you ask a rhetorical question, you are asking it merely for effect, not because you actually want an answer. The word is often heard in discussions about the political process because many people in the political arena seem to use many words, without saying a whole lot--the give the public rhetoric.

Usage Examples:

The CEO’s grand plans are just rhetoric, if not followed by implementation. (empty talk, loftiness)

The speech was typical political rhetoric: a lot of proposed programs, without any accountability. (empty talk, grandiloquence)

Do you really want an answer, or was that a rhetorical question? (stated for effect, empty of meaning) adjective

The rhetoric of her speech was articulate and eloquent, and I'm sure she influenced a great many people to make a contribution to the charity. (delivery, oratory)


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