Guide to Literary Terms

Start Your Free Trial

Download Guide to Literary Terms Study Guide

Subscribe Now


Rhetoric - the theory and principles concerned with the effective use of language or the theory and practice of eloquence, both written and oral. It consists of the rules that govern all prose composition or speech designed to influence the judgment or feelings of people, but is only loosely connected with specific details of mechanics, grammar, etc.; it is concerned with a consideration of the fundamental principles according to which oratorical discourses are composed: invention, arrangement, style, memory, and delivery.

The term is from the Greek rhetorike or rhetor, meaning “an orator,” especially a professional one.

The actual founder of rhetoric as a science is said to be Corax of Syracuse in 465 B.C., while Homer is considered the Father of Oratory . To the ancient Greeks, rhetoric was...

(The entire section is 269 words.)