characterismus  characterismus
 kar-ak-ter-iz'-mus Gk. "designation by a characteristic mark"
description of character

The description of a person's character. If this is restricted to the body, this is effictio; if restricted to a person's habits, this is ethopoeia. Characterismus is a kind of enargia (principally when describing physical attributes).
He is a monster both in mind and in body; whatever part of mind or body you consider, you will find a monster ) quivery head, rabid eyes, a dragon's gape, the visage of a Fury, distended belly, hands like talons ready to tear, feet distorted, in short, view his entire physical shape and what else does it all present but a monster? Observe that tongue, observe that wild beast's roar, and you will name it a monstrosity; probe his mind, you will find a horror; weigh his character, scrutinize his life, you will find all monstrous; and, not to pursue every point in detail, through and through he is nothing but a monster.
—Erasmus, De copia
Related Figures

Related Topics of Invention
Subject and Adjuncts
Since description typically takes the form of delineating the attributes of something, it is therefore the use of this topic of invention, by which one identifies the characteristics (or adjuncts) of a given subject.
See Also

  Sources: Rutil. 2.7; Isidore 2.21.40; Sherry (1550) 66

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Gideon O. Burton, Brigham Young University
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