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V2 Vocabulary Building Dictionary


rhetorical

adjective

Definition: 1. relating to the skill of using language effectively and persuasively; 2. using language that is elaborate or fine-sounding, but insincere

Synonyms: eloquent, effective, persuasive, verbose, bombastic, showy, insincere

Antonyms: literal, simple, unpretentious

Tips: A rhetorical question is one asked solely to produce an effect, rather than elicit a reply. Rhetorical speech can be negative, as when it is verbose and bombastic, but it can also be positive, as when it is eloquent and persuasive. When studying this word, remember that its two definitions are contradictory. See also: rhetoric.

Usage Examples:

Her rhetorical comments are meant to impress, but they just make her sound bombastic. (verbose)

In the press conference, the heckler kept asking rhetorical questions in an attempt to disrupt the meeting. (verbose, used for effect only)

Her speech was rhetorical; her words were obviously well-chosen. (eloquent, effective, persuasive)

Speakers sometimes use rhetorical questions to keep their listenerís attention. (verbose, used for effect only)


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