Words and Terms related to speaking and speechwriting:

Adynaton [ad-uh-NAY-ton]:

A form of in which the exaggeration is so extreme as to be impossible

“You will sooner find a donkey flying than see me agree to that deal.”

Allegory [AL-eh-gor-ee]:

A symbolic narrative in which the surface details imply a secondary meaning.

George Orwell's “Animal Farm” as an allegory for the Russian Revolution.

Alliteration [uh-lit-uh-RAY-shun]:

The repetition of initial consonant sounds in nearby words.

“Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers.”

Anaphora [uh-NAF-or-uh]:

The repetition of a word or phrase at the beginning of successive clauses.

“We shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields.”

Anecdote [AN-ik-dote]:

A short, amusing or interesting story about a real incident or person.

Using a personal anecdote to illustrate a point during a .

Antimetabole [an-ti-muh-TAB-uh-lee]:

The repetition of words in successive clauses, but in reversed order.

“Ask not what your country can do for you — ask what you can do for your country.”

Aphorism [AF-uh-riz-um]:

A pithy observation that contains a general truth.

“Life is short, art long, opportunity fleeting, experience treacherous, judgment difficult.”

Aposiopesis [ap-uh-si-uh-PEE-sis]:

A figure of speech wherein a sentence is deliberately broken off and left unfinished.

“If you do that again, I'll—”

Asyndeton [a-SIN-duh-ton]:

Omission of conjunctions between words, phrases, or clauses.

“I came, I saw, I conquered.”

Bloviate [BLO-vee-ate]:

To speak at length in a pompous or boastful manner.

“The speaker bloviated about his achievements for over an hour.”

Cacophony [kuh-KAH-fuh-nee]:

A harsh, discordant mixture of sounds.

“His speech was a cacophony of harsh sounds and angry voices.”

Catechresis [kat-i-KREE-sis]:

An arresting metaphor that pushes the of ordinary usage.

“I will speak daggers to her.”

Chiasmus [ky-AZ-mus]:

Reversal of grammatical structures in successive phrases or clauses.

“Never let a Fool Kiss You or a Kiss Fool You.”

Circumlocution [ser-kum-loh-KYOO-shun]:

The use of many words where fewer would do.

Describing someone as “not unfamiliar with” instead of “familiar with.”

Climax [KLY-max]:

The point in a speech or story where the conflict or tension hits the highest point.

The of a mystery novel typically reveals the perpetrator.

Colloquialism [kuh-LOH-kwee-ul-izm]:

The use of informal words or phrases in speaking or writing.

“Wanna grab a cuppa and gab for a bit?”

Demagogue [DEM-uh-gog]:

A speaker who seeks to manipulate or appeal to desires and prejudices rather than using rational argument.

“The leader used fiery speeches to fuel the crowd's fears and secure their blind loyalty.”

Diatribe [DYE-uh-tribe]:

A forceful and bitter verbal attack against someone or something.

“Her speech turned into a diatribe against the inequities in the system.”

Diction [DIK-shun]:

The choice of words and style of expression.

The use of formal in academic writing.

Dysphemism [DIS-fuh-mizm]:

The use of a harsh, more offensive word instead of one considered less harsh.

“Calling the old man a‘decrepit wreck' instead of ‘senior citizen.'”

Elocution [el-uh-KYOO-shun]:

The art of clear and expressive speaking, especially of distinct pronunciation and articulation.

“He took elocution lessons to improve his public speaking skills.”

Epistrophe [eh-PIS-tro-fee]:

The repetition of a word at the end of successive clauses or sentences.

“See no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil.”

Epizeuxis [ep-i-ZYOOK-sis]:

Emphatic repetition of a word, without any intervening words.

“Alone, alone, all, all alone, alone on a wide, wide sea.”

Ethos [EE-thos]:

The characteristic spirit or ideal that informs a work or culture, often used in speech to establish credibility.

“Her of transparency has won her the respect and trust of many.”

Euphemism [YOO-fuh-mizm]:

A mild or indirect word or expression substituted for one considered to be too harsh or blunt.

“He passed away” instead of “He died.”

Euphony [YOO-fuh-nee]:

The use of words that are pleasant to hear.

“Cellar door” is often cited as an example of euphony.

Exordium [eks-OR-dee-um]:

The beginning or introductory part of a speech.

“Ladies and gentlemen, thank you for gathering here on this auspicious occasion.”

Extemporize [eks-TEM-puh-ryze]:

To speak or perform without ; improvising.

“Caught off-guard, she had to a speech at the ceremony.”

Foreshadowing [FOHR-shad-oh-ing]:

A literary device used to give an advance hint of what is to come later in the story.

Ominous dialogue hinting at future events.

Harangue [huh-RANG]:

A lengthy and aggressive speech.

“The coach's at halftime was both fierce and motivating.”

Homiletics [hom-uh-LET-iks]:

The art of preaching or writing sermons.

“His skill in was evident in his ability to captivate his congregation with meaningful messages.”

Hyperbaton [hy-PEHR-buh-ton]:

An unusual order of words.

“Object there was none. Passion there was none.”

Hyperbole [hy-PER-buh-lee]:

Exaggerated statements or claims not meant to be taken literally, used for effect.

“I've told you a million times!”

Impromptu [im-PROMP-too]:

Done without being planned or rehearsed.

“His impromptu remarks captured the essence of the event better than any prepared speech.”

Irony [EYE-ruh-nee]:

The use of words to convey a meaning that is the opposite of its literal meaning.

Saying “What a pleasant day” during a hurricane.

Juxtaposition [juhk-stuh-puh-ZISH-uhn]:

Placing two elements close together for contrasting effect.

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.”

Litotes [LYE-tuh-tees]:

A form of understatement using the negative to affirm the positive.

Saying “he's not bad” to mean “he's good.”

Logos [LOH-gos]:

Appeal to logic, a way of persuading an audience through reason.

“If we look at the statistics, it's clear that our approach is working.”

Malapropism [MAL-uh-prop-izm]:

The mistaken use of a word in place of a similar-sounding one, often with unintentionally amusing effect.

“He's the pineapple of politeness” instead of “pinnacle.”

Metaphor [MET-uh-for]:

A figure of speech in which a word or phrase is applied to an object or action to which it is not literally applicable.

“Time is a thief.”Certainly! Here's the continuation of the updated list starting from “”:

Metonymy [meh-TON-uh-mee]:

A figure of speech in which a thing or concept is referred to by the name of something closely associated with it.

“The White House declared” rather than “The President declared.”

Monologue [MON-uh-log]:

An extended speech by one person.

“His monologue at the party was both hilarious and insightful.”

Monomyth [MON-oh-myth]:

A common template of a broad category of tales that involve a hero who goes on an adventure.

The journey of Frodo in “The Lord of the Rings.”

Motif [mo-TEEF]:

a distinctive feature or dominant idea in an artistic or literary composition

“The mountain-climber's keynote had an exploration motif.”

Narrative Hook [NAR-uh-tiv hook]:

A literary technique in the opening of a story that hooks the reader's attention.

Starting a novel with a mysterious dialogue.

Non Sequitur [non SEK-wi-tur]:

A conclusion or statement that does not logically follow from the previous argument or statement.

“She loves Paris. She must enjoy waffles.”

Oratorical [ora-TOR-ik-al]:

Relating to the art or practice of public speaking

“Winston Churchill's prowess was unmatched.”

Orotund [OR-oh-tund]:

Speech characterized as rich, clean, strong, and full.

“His orotund voice echoed through the hall, capturing everyone's attention.”

Oxymoron [ox-SEE-muh-ron]:

A figure of speech in which apparently contradictory terms appear in conjunction.

“Deafening silence.”

Pacing [PAY-sing]:

The speed at which a story or speech unfolds.

Rapid pacing in an action scene.

Panegyric [pan-uh-JIR-ik]:

A public speech or text in praise of someone or something.

“His retirement party featured a panegyric detailing his decades of service to the company.”

Paradox [PAR-uh-doks]:

A statement or proposition that, despite sound reasoning from acceptable premises, leads to a conclusion that seems senseless.

“I must be cruel to be kind.”

Paralipsis [par-uh-LIP-sis]:

Drawing attention to something by claiming not to mention it.

“Not to mention his previous failures, but his current success is impressive.”

Paronomasia [par-uh-no-MAY-zee-uh]:

Using similar-sounding words or phrases, often puns.

“To jaw-jaw is always better than to war-war”

Parody [PAR-o-dy]:

Parody is a form of that imitates the style of a particular genre, work, or artist in a way that makes fun of those styles or works

‘The Simpsons' has brilliantly parodied everything from political figures to entire genres of film, highlighting absurdities and bringing a lighter perspective to serious subjects.

Pathetic Fallacy [puh-THET-ik FAL-uh-see]:

The attribution of human feelings to inanimate objects.

“The somber clouds wept rain.”

Pathos [PAY-thos]:

A quality in speech or writing that evokes pity, sadness, or tenderness.

“Her speech moved the audience to tears, as she recounted the hardships endured by her community.”

Pedantic [pol-IP-ti-ton]:

a manner of being overly concerned with formal rules and trivial points of learning, often emphasizing the minutiae of knowledge rather than its broader application.

“I've attained corporeal satiety and shall forthwith decline any proffered additions to this evening's delectable repast.”

Periphrasis [PER-i-FRAY-sis]:

a rhetorical device that involves using excessive and longer phrases to express an idea that could be conveyed with fewer words or in more direct terms.

Instead of saying ‘I'm busy,' one might say, ‘At the moment, it might be quite challenging for me to allocate time for additional tasks.'.

Peroration [per-uh-RAY-shun]:

The concluding part of a speech, typically intended to inspire enthusiasm in the audience.

“Let us march forward together, not for ourselves, but for our children, and our children's children.”

Persona [per-SOH-nuh]:

The aspect of someone's character presented to or perceived by others.

A public figure's persona might differ greatly from their private self.

Pleonasm [PLEE-uh-naz-um]:

The use of more words than are necessary to convey meaning.

“See with your eyes” instead of just “See.”

Polyptoton [pol-IP-ti-ton]:

a stylistic device where a word is repeated in a sentence but in a different form, enhancing emphasis through repetition and variation.

“The things you own end up owning you.” (Brad Pitt in the movie Fight Club, 1999).

Polysyndeton [pol-ee-SIN-duh-ton]:

The use of several conjunctions in close succession.

“We have ships and men and money and stores.”

Prolepsis [proh-LEP-sis]:

The anticipation and answering of possible objections in a speech.

Addressing potential counterarguments in a debate before they are raised.

Prosody [PROS-uh-dee]:

The patterns of rhythm and sound used in poetry and speech.

“His mastery of made his recitations mesmerizing to listen to.”

Quintilian [kwin-TIL-ee-un]:

An ancient Roman rhetorician, renowned for his teachings on oratory.

“Quintilian's Institutes ofOratory offers timeless advice for speakers.”

Red Herring [RED HER-ing]:

Something that misleads or distracts from the relevant or important issue.

“Bringing up past unrelated failures was a red herring in the negotiation.”

Repartee [rep-ar-TEE]:

Conversation or speech characterized by quick, witty comments or replies.

“His repartee was so sharp, it could slice through the tense atmosphere of any meeting.”

Rhetoric [RHET-or-ik]:

The art of effective or persuasive speaking or writing, especially the use of figures of speech and other compositional techniques.

“Her in the courtroom swayed the jury towards a not-guilty verdict.”

Rhetorical Question [re-TOR-i-cal KWES-tyun]:

a question asked to make a point rather than to solicit an answer.

“Isn't it time we all got serious about mastering the art of public speaking?”

Satire [SAT-eye-r]:

The use of humor, irony, or exaggeration to criticize.

Jonathan Swift's “A Modest Proposal” is a satirical essay.

Scansion [SCAN-shun]:

The act of analyzing a poem's meter.

Identifying the iambic pentameter in Shakespeare's sonnets.

Simile [SIM-uh-lee]:

A figure of speech involving the comparison of one thing with another thing of a different kind, used to make a description more emphatic.

“Her smile was like sunshine on a cloudy day.”

Similitis [SIM-i-LYTE-us]:

the tendency to overuse the word “like”.

“This example is like so cool!.

Solecism [SO-luh-siz-um]:

A grammatical mistake in speech or writing.

“Me and him went to the store.”

Soliloquy [so-LIL-uh-kwee]:

A speech in which a character speaks their thoughts aloud, especially when alone.

“To be, or not to be: that is the question” from Hamlet's soliloquy.

Syllepsis [sih-LEP-sis]:

A figure of speech that involves a word being used differently in relation to two other words it governs or modifies.

“He lost his coat and his temper.”

Syllogism [SIL-uh-jizm]:

A form of reasoning in which a conclusion is drawn from two given or assumed propositions (premises).

“All men are mortal. Socrates is a man. Therefore, Socrates is mortal.”

Syncrisis [SIN-kri-sis]:

Reframing an argument by redefining it.

“Not manipulation, but influence.”

Synecdoche [sin-EK-doh-kee]:

A figure of speech in which a part is made to represent the whole or vice versa.

‘All on deck'.

Tautology [taw-TOL-uh-jee]:

The saying of the same thing twice over in different words, generally considered to be a fault of style.

“Free gift” since all gifts are free.

Tone [TONE]:

The general character or attitude of a place, piece of writing, situation, etc.

“Don't use that tone with me, young lady!”.

Tricolon [TRY-koh-lon]:

A series of three parallel words, phrases, or clauses.

“Government of the people, by the people, for the people.”

Understatement [UN-der-stayt-ment]:

The of something as being smaller or less important than it actually is.

“It's just a scratch,” when referring to a large dent in a car.

Uxorious [uk-SOR-ee-us]:

Having or showing an excessive or submissive fondness for one's wife.

“He's completely , buying her gifts for every imaginable occasion.”

Verisimilitude [ver-i-si-MIL-i-tood]:

The appearance of being true or real in speech or storytelling.

“The dialogue in the play had great ; it sounded just like real people talking.”

Vernacular [ver-NAK-yuh-lur]:

The language or dialect spoken by the ordinary people in a particular country or region.

“His use of the local vernacular made his speeches more relatable to the rural audience.”

Zeitgeist [ZYTE-guyst]:

a German word meaning ‘spirit of the age' or ‘spirit of the times.'

An entrepreneurial spirit and digital innovation define the early 21st century zeitgeist.

Zeugma [ZOOG-muh]:

A figure of speech in which a word applies to two others in different .

“She broke his car and his heart.”