What does rhetorical mean?

Definitions for rhetorical
rɪˈtɔr ɪ kəl, -ˈtɒr-rhetor·i·cal

This dictionary definitions page includes all the possible meanings, example usage and translations of the word rhetorical.

Princeton's WordNet

  1. rhetoricaladjective

    of or relating to rhetoric

    "accepted two or three verbal and rhetorical changes I suggested"- W.A.White; "the rhetorical sin of the meaningless variation"- Lewis Mumford

  2. rhetoricaladjective

    given to rhetoric, emphasizing style at the expense of thought

    "mere rhetorical frippery"


  1. rhetoricaladjective

    Part of or similar to rhetoric, which is the use of language as a means to persuade.

    A rhetorical question, for example, is one used merely to make a point, with no response expected.

  2. rhetoricaladjective

    Not earnest, or presented only for the purpose of an argument

  3. Etymology: From rhetoricus, from ῥητορικός.

Samuel Johnson's Dictionary

  1. Rhetoricaladjective

    Pertaining to rhetorick; oratorial; figurative.

    Etymology: rhetoricus, Lat. from rhetorick.

    The apprehension is so deeply riveted into my mind, that rhetorical flourishes cannot at all loosen it. More.

    Because Brutus and Cassius met a blackmore, and Pompey had on a dark garment at Pharsalia, these were presages of their overthrow, which notwithstanding are scarce rhetorical sequels; concluding metaphors from realities, and from conceptions metaphorical inferring realities again. Brown.

    The subject moral, logical, or rhetorical, which does not come under our senses. Isaac Watts, Improvement of the Mind.


  1. Rhetorical

    Rhetoric () is the art of persuasion, which along with grammar and logic (or dialectic), is one of the three ancient arts of discourse. Rhetoric aims to study the techniques writers or speakers utilize to inform, persuade, or motivate particular audiences in specific situations. Aristotle defines rhetoric as "the faculty of observing in any given case the available means of persuasion" and since mastery of the art was necessary for victory in a case at law, for passage of proposals in the assembly, or for fame as a speaker in civic ceremonies, he calls it "a combination of the science of logic and of the ethical branch of politics". Rhetoric typically provides heuristics for understanding, discovering, and developing arguments for particular situations, such as Aristotle's three persuasive audience appeals: logos, pathos, and ethos. The five canons of rhetoric or phases of developing a persuasive speech were first codified in classical Rome: invention, arrangement, style, memory, and delivery. From Ancient Greece to the late 19th century, rhetoric played a central role in Western education in training orators, lawyers, counsellors, historians, statesmen, and poets.


  1. rhetorical

    Rhetorical refers to a type of communication that is intended to persuade or influence people, through the use of language and other techniques such as metaphor, repetition, and emotional appeal. It also pertains to the art of effective or persuasive speaking or writing, particularly related to the use of figures of speech and other compositional techniques.

Webster Dictionary

  1. Rhetoricaladjective

    of or pertaining to rhetoric; according to, or exhibiting, rhetoric; oratorical; as, the rhetorical art; a rhetorical treatise; a rhetorical flourish

  2. Etymology: [L. rhetoricus, Gr. . See Rhetoric.]

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  1. Chaldean Numerology

    The numerical value of rhetorical in Chaldean Numerology is: 6

  2. Pythagorean Numerology

    The numerical value of rhetorical in Pythagorean Numerology is: 1

Examples of rhetorical in a Sentence

  1. Republican Rep. Jason Lewis:

    Look, a rhetorical discussion about the cultural changes and whether we can hold anyone, male or female, to standards made for an interesting hour, made for an interesting rhetorical discussion, that's what you're supposed to do on talk radio. And if you're provocative when you do it, well, that's part of our job. I presume, you know, the people that are running with this story are looking for ratings as well. So, it's kind of sad that it's come back to this, but I guess I shouldn't be surprised.

  2. Chris Jackson:

    He's got the rhetorical gifts to reframe how people see an issue. If he deploys them here and it gets attention, it could reshape the debate.

  3. The Spokesman-Review:

    I was being rhetorical, because I was trying to make the point that equalizing a colonoscopy to this particular procedure was apples and oranges, so I was asking a rhetorical question that was designed to make her say that they weren't the same thing, and she did so. It was the response I wanted.

  4. Matt Bennett:

    Cultural issues are just not going to divide the party anymore, it's economic issues and rhetorical focus.

  5. George Will:

    He speaks in such modulated, dulcet tones that we tend to sometimes miss some of the harsh things he is saying, so he’s got a rhetorical record that is going to get more scrutiny.

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"rhetorical." Definitions.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2023. Web. 25 Sep. 2023. <https://www.definitions.net/definition/rhetorical>.

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    a British imperial capacity measure (liquid or dry) equal to 4 quarts or 4.545 liters
    • A. subrogation
    • B. volubility
    • C. congius
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