ení-thy-meem Gk. "a thought, a consideration"


The informal method of reasoning typical of rhetorical discourse. The enthymeme is sometimes defined as a "truncated syllogism" since either the major or minor premise found in that more formal method of reasoning is left implied. The enthymeme typically occurs as a conclusion coupled with a reason. When several enthymemes are linked together, this becomes sorites.


We cannot trust this man, for he has perjured himself in the past.
In this enthymeme, the major premise of the complete syllogism is missing:

  • Those who perjure themselves cannot be trusted. (Major premise - omitted)
  • This man has perjured himself in the past. (Minor premise - stated)
  • This man is not to be trusted. (Conclusion - stated)


A figure of speech which bases a conclusion on the truth of its contrary.


If to be foolish is evil, then it is virtuous to be wise.
This also an example of chiasmus

Related Figures

Related Topics of Invention See Also

Sources: Ad Herennium 4.30.41 ("conclusio"); Quintilian 5.14.24

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Gideon O. Burton, Brigham Young University
Please cite "Silva Rhetoricae" (rhetoric.byu.edu)

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