1. The art or study of using language effectively and persuasively.
2. A treatise or book discussing this art.
2. Skill in using language effectively and persuasively.
1. A style of speaking or writing, especially the language of a particular subject: fiery political rhetoric.
2. Language that is elaborate, pretentious, insincere, or intellectually vacuous: His offers of compromise were mere rhetoric.
4. Verbal communication; discourse.
[Middle English rethorik, from Old French rethorique, from Latin rhētoricē, rhētorica, from Greek rhētorikē (tekhnē), rhetorical (art), feminine of rhētorikos, rhetorical, from rhētōr, rhetor. See rhetor.]
The art of public speaking: declamation, elocution, oratory.
Definition: wordiness; long speech
Political Dictionary: rhetoric
Rhetoric is the persuasive use of language. Until the eighteenth century its study was one of the central disciplines in European universities alongside theology, natural and moral sciences, and law. Thereafter, empiricist and positivist methods of social inquiry led to its eclipse, on the ground that language, scientifically used, was no more than a transparent medium by which knowledge of the world gained by experience was mediated. Rhetoric, accordingly, came to denote the unnecessary or misleading embellishment and corruption of language—a view which Plato had held of the sophists.
Literary Dictionary: rhetoric
the deliberate exploitation of eloquence for the most persuasive effect in public speaking or in writing. It was cultivated as an important art and science in antiquity, and was an essential ele‐ment of medieval university education, involving the elaborate categorizing of figures of speech together with the arts of memory, arrangement, and oratorical delivery. The emphasis on sincerity in the culture of Romanticism helped to discredit rhetoric, so that the usual modern sense of the term implies empty and ineffectual grandness in public speech.
Britannica Concise Encyclopedia: rhetoric
Art of speaking or writing effectively. It may entail the study of principles and rules of composition formulated by critics of ancient times, and it can also involve the study of writing or speaking as a means of communication or persuasion. Classical rhetoric probably developed along with democracy in Syracuse (Sicily) in the 5th century BC, when dispossessed landowners argued claims before their fellow citizens. Shrewd speakers sought help from teachers of oratory, called rhetors. This use of language was of interest to philosophers such as Plato and Aristotle because the oratorical arguments called into question the relationships among language, truth, and morality. The Romans recognized separate aspects of the process of composing speeches, a compartmentalization that grew more pronounced with time. Renaissance scholars and poets studied rhetoric closely, and it was a central concern of humanism. In all times and places where rhetoric has been significant, listening and reading and speaking and writing have been the critical skills necessary for effective communication.