GLOSSARY: OF TERMS USED IN GRAMMAR, RHETORIC, AND PROSODY
Many of these terms are pedantic names given by early grammarians to forms of
speech used naturally by writers who were not conscious that they were using
figures at all—as, indeed, they were not. Thus when one says,
“It gave me no little pleasure,” he is unconsciously
when he says, “John went
up the street, James down,” antithesis;
when he says, “High as the sky,” hyperbole.
Many were given under a mistaken notion of the nature
of the usage referred to. Thus
(§ 143. a.
N.) were supposed
to owe their d
Such a sentence as
“See my coat, how well it fits!” was supposed to be an
irregularity to be accounted for by
Many of these, however, are convenient designations for phenomena which often
occur; and most of them have an historic interest, of one kind or another.
a change of construction in the
same sentence, leaving the first part broken or unfinished.
inversion of the usual order of
the conclusion of a
conditional sentence (see
an adoption of old or obsolete forms.
omission of conjunctions (§
adoption of foreign or unauthorized
brevity of expression.
contraction of two vowels into one
(§ 15. 3).
omission of a word or words necessary
to complete the sense.
substitution of one
word or form for another.
insertion of a
letter or syllable.
use of Greek forms or constructions.
ἓν διὰ δυοῖν
): the use of two nouns, with a conjunction, instead of a
single modified noun.
a reversing of the natural
order of ideas.
This term was applied to cases where the natural sequence of events is
violated in language because the later event is of more importance than
the earlier and so comes first to the mind. This was supposed to be an
artificial embellishment in Greek, and so was imitated in Latin. It is
still found in artless narrative; cf. “Bred and Born in a
Brier Bush” (Uncle Remus).
transposition of letters in a word.
addition of a letter
or letters to the end of a word.
insertion of a phrase interrupting
a roundabout way of
the use of needless words.
the use of an unnecessary number
of copulative conjunctions.
the use of a word in
the clause preceding the one where it would naturally appear
a clause introduced by
a conditional expression (if
), leading to a conclusion called the
omission of a letter or syllable from
the middle of a word.
agreement of words according to the
sense, and not the grammatical form (§ 280. a
the separation of the
two parts of a compound word by other words (cutting
This term came from the earlier separation of prepositions (originally
adverbs) from the verbs with which they were afterwards joined; so in
per ecastor scītus puer
a very fine boy, egad!
As this was supposed to be
intentional, it was ignorantly imitated in Latin; as in cere- comminuit -brum
the use of a verb or an
adjective with two different words, to only one of which it strictly
a narrative in which abstract ideas
figure as circumstances, events, or persons, in order to enforce some
the use of several words that
begin with the same sound.
argument from resemblances.
the repetition of a
word at the beginning of successive clauses (§ 598. f
opposition, or contrast of parts
(for emphasis: § 598. f
use of a proper for
a common noun, or the reverse:—
nōn deerunt, Flacce,
Marōnēs, so there be
(like Mæcenas), poets (like
Virgil) will not be lacking,
Flaccus (Mart. 8.56.5
illa furia et pestis, that
fury and plague (i.e. Clodius); Homēromastīx, scourge
of Homer (i.e. Zoilus).
an abrupt pause for
a harsh metaphor
, misuse of words).
a reversing of the order of words in
corresponding pairs of phrases (§ 598. f
a gradual increase of emphasis, or
enlargement of meaning.
the mild expression of a painful or
sī quid eī
acciderit, if anything happens to him
(i.e. if he dies).
the choice of words for their agreeable
violation of the usual order of
exaggeration for rhetorical effect.
the use of words which naturally convey a
sense contrary to what is meant.
the affirming of a thing by denying its
contrary (§ 326. c
the figurative use of words,
indicating an object by some resemblance.
the use of the name of one thing to
indicate some kindred thing
a fitting of sound to
sense in the use of words.
the use of contradictory words in the
sapientia, foolish wisdom.
the use of words of
a figurative comparison (usually
introduced by like
, or as
the interlocked order (§
the use of the name of a part for
the whole, or the reverse.
Terms of Prosody
complete, as a verse or a series of
feet (§ 612. a
breaking up of rhythm by substituting
the unaccented syllable or syllables
preceding a verse (§ 608.
a series of verses corresponding to
one which has gone before (cf. strophe
the unaccented part of a
foot (§ 611).
a single foot preceding the regular
movement of a verse.
the ending of a word within a
metrical foot (§ 611. b
loss of a final syllable (or
syllables) making the series catalectic
(incomplete, § 612. a
the use of one long syllable for
two short (§ 610).
shortening of a long syllable, for
the coincidence of the end
of a foot with the end of a word within the verse (§ 611. c
the use of i
as vowels (
silüa = silva
, § 603. f.
the lengthening of a
short syllable by emphasis (§ 612. b
consisting of two like
consisting of two like feet.
a system or series of two verses.
the suppression of a
final syllable in -m
word beginning with a vowel (§ 612. f.
the cutting off of a final before a
following initial vowel (§ 612. e
consisting of seven feet.
consisting of six measures.
consisting of six feet.
the meeting of two vowels without
contraction or elision (§ 612.
the metrical accent
(§ 611. a
not conforming strictly to the unit
of time (§ 609. e
varying in rhythm, making
the effect resemble prose (§ 623).
consisting of a single measure.
the unit of time, equal to
one short syllable (§ 608.
consisting of five measures.
consisting of five feet.
extension of a syllable beyond its
normal length (608. c
the use of two short syllables for
one long (§ 610).
a series of verses making a recognized
metrical whole (stanza
), which may be indefinitely
(vowel) and u
becoming consonants before a
vowel (§ 603. c.
the same as elision
(§ 612. e.
elision between two verses
(§ 612. e.
loss of a short vowel.
the running together
of two vowels without full contraction (§ 603
shortening of a syllable regularly
consisting of four measures.
consisting of four feet.
a system of four verses.
the accented part of a foot (§
consisting of three measures.
consisting of three feet.
a system of three verses.