figures of definition
figures of speech
groupings index

Defining is a basic mode of discourse. As such, Definition is one of the Topics of Invention, serving as a common method for developing or supporting an argument. Even if definition is not employed to support a main point or develop the section of a speech, many figures are based on some kind of definition:
  • horismus
    Providing a clear, brief definition, especially by explaining differences between associated terms
  • antonomasia
    Substituting a descriptive phrase for a proper name, or substituting a proper name for a quality associated with it.
  • circumlocution
    Supplying a descriptive phrase in place of a name.
  • systrophe
    The listing of many qualities or descriptions of someone or something, without providing an explicit definition.
  • correctio
    To amend a term or phrase one has just employed.
  • auxesis (2) and meiosis (tapinosis)
    These terms involve a kind of redefiining—referring to something in terms disproportionately large or small.
  • parenthesis
    A lexical interruption may include a kind of explanation or definition, suggested by one Latim synonym provided (by Suarez) for this term, "interpretatio."
  • synonymia
    Employing multiple terms for the same idea is a kind of explanation or definition.
  • exergasia (expolitio)
    Repetition of the same idea in different words, which can serve the purpose of explaining or defining that idea.

See Also

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Gideon O. Burton, Brigham Young University
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