No one understands them. No one buys them. I love them.

On 5 October 2005, I fell in love with public speaking thanks to Toastmasters. Ever since I have developed a deep passion for rhetorical devices. This passion grew even more when in July 2009, facing bankruptcy, I had to turn my passion for rhetoric into a profession.

Rhetorical devices add flavor to your speech. They arouse your audience thanks to their intellectual beauty. They make your content more memorable.

Not many people know about all this. This is why I started to create this rhetoric wear.

Obviously, it’s for cool geeks only. But, certainly, Aristotle was one of them.


The Triumvirate of Persuasion


Facts, figures, data – arguments based on logic. Logos proves your message. Its original meaning “word” or “speech” – logos tells your audience that it makes sense what you say.


Habits, moral habits – that’s the original meaning of ethos. Translated into the 21st century: credibility. According to what we can read, ethos is Aristotle’s number one. Your content can make all the sense in the world. You can touch my emotions as much as you want. If I don’t believe you, you are out! Protect your charisma, protect your ethos.


Pathos: pain and passion. Suffering. And who has to suffer? Your audience. Pathos is your appeal to their emotions. What matters is how you make them feel.

Rhetorical Beauty


The occurrence of the same letter or sound at the beginning of adjacent or closely connected words. But be aware: It’s not always the first letter; it’s the emphasis that matters.


An expression designed to call something to mind without mentioning it explicitly; an indirect or passing reference. Like in this case, “To be or not to be”. I’m not so strict here. I also put references in the allusive pot. Like, “She is more perfectionist than Steve Jobs.”


The repetition of a word or phrase at the beginning of successive clauses. MLK Jr. brought anaphora to a whole new level in his immortal “I have a dream” speech at Lincoln Memorial in 1963.


The inversion of the usual order of words or clauses. Do you remember what Yoda said to young Luke? “Do or do not, there is no try.” That is anastrophe!


An antanagoge is a figure in rhetoric, in which, not being able to answer the accusation of an adversary, a person instead makes a counter-allegation or counteracts an opponent’s proposal with an opposing proposition in one’s own speech. Don Rickles, the comedian, was a master of antanagoge.


Do you remember what JFK said in his inaugural address on January 20, 1961? The most memorable line is, “Ask not what your country can do for you – ask what you can do for your country.” Reversed repetition. Chiasmus. But – when you use the same words – similar to ABBA – it’s the special form of chiasmus. It’s called antimetabole.


A sentence is deliberately broken off and left unfinished, the ending to be supplied by the imagination, giving an impression of unwillingness or inability to continue. “We act now, or else—!”


One or several conjunctions are deliberately omitted from a series of related clauses. Examples include veni, vidi, vici, and its English translation “I came, I saw, I conquered”.


A climax is a figure of speech in which words, phrases, or clauses are arranged in order of increasing importance. I love to use climax, for example, to put the arguments in a speech in an emotionally rising order.


The repetition of a word or phrase with one or two intervening words. It derives from the Greek word thiakhop, which means “cut in two”. Example: “We will win this game, my friends, we will win this game!”


A figure of explication in which an introductory reference to a word’s meaning is made (e.g., “by x I mean”, “which is to say that”, “that is”) followed by a further elaboration of that word’s meaning; explicit definition of or elaboration upon the meaning or meanings of a particular word or set of words. — americanrhetoric.com


The repetition of the initial part of a clause or sentence at the end of that same clause or sentence. The beginning and the end of a sentence are two positions of emphasis, so special attention is placed on the phrase by repeating it in both places. Like the king is dead…


Watch JFK’s “Ich bin ein Berliner” speech (6m 10sec) and you will know what epistrophe is. Epistrophe is a rhetorical giant!


It describes a person, place, or object by accompanying or replacing it with a descriptive word or phrase. The word “epithet” comes from the Greek word “epitheton” which translates to “added” or “attributed.” Examples: Elvis Presley, the King. Bruce Springsteen, the Boss. Catherine the Great. Epithets are also great for describing a character’s personality in one word… “Turbo Timo”.


Or, Alexander the Great.


The repetition of a word or phrase in immediate succession, typically within the same sentence, for vehemence or emphasis. In his famous address to Harrow School on October 29, 1941, Winston Churchill said, “Never give in. Never give in. Never, never, never, never–in nothing, great or small, large or petty–never give in, except to convictions of honor and good sense.”


The word example comes from the Latin word exemplum. Originally, it means a moral anecdote, brief or extended, real or fictitious, used to illustrate a point. The word is also used to express an action performed by another and used as an example or model. People love to speak generically. Especially when they speak in public. But specific beats generic. Give more specific examples.


A rhetorical technique where an author or speaker intentionally uses exaggeration and overstatement for emphasis and effect. Muhammad Ali once said in a press conference, “I’m so mean, I make medicine sick.” And, by the way, his epithet? The Greatest.


A euphemistic figure of speech that intentionally understates something or implies that it is lesser in significance or size than it really is. The work of the British surreal comedy troupe Monty Python is a great example of how to apply meiosis for humorous effect.


A metaphor compares two things (that are often not alike) by stating that one is the other. — mannerofspeaking.org


Metonymy is a figure of speech in which a thing or concept is referred to by the name of something closely associated with that thing or concept. For example, Hollywood stands for the film industry, The White House for the government, and the pen for the written word.


Onomatopoeia is a word that phonetically imitates, resembles, or suggests the sound that it describes. Common onomatopoeias include animal noises such as oink, meow, roar, and chirp. And what was my favorite cereal when I was a child? Snap, crackle, pop!


It’s a two-word paradox. If we trace its Greek origins, the first half “oxy” means sharp, and the second half “moron” means dull (or foolish). Think about a knife. Even the word oxymoron itself is an oxymoron. Weren’t those ancient Greeks just brilliant?


And silent Italians? That’s funnier than funny Germans!


My favorite rhetorical device! You bring up a subject by either denying it or denying that it should be brought up. It’s a true mind twister. Example: “If you were not my father, I’d say you were perverse.” (Antigone : 222)


Self-explanatory! When you deliberately insert a series of conjunctions, the phrase gains weight and impact and punch.


What is the real power of a rhetorical question? You see, this is not a rhetorical question. Because not everybody (or the vast majority) will know the answer. But is that the real power? “No.” 🙂 It’s true. With rhetorical questions the answer is obvious. Mostly “yes” or “no”. In this t-shirt, though, the answer is “many” because it’s an allusion to Bob Dylan’s song “Blowin’ In The Wind”. The real power is that your audience confirms what you say.


The use of a famous proverb, maxim, quotation, or saying to support one’s argument. Using a proverb, etc. adds credibility to your words. A well-known and accepted proverb lends a “truth” to your argument. More at mannerofspeaking.org.


You directly compare two unlike things through the use of connecting words, usually “like” or “as” or “than.” I personally love hyperbolic similies. For example, “I am more useless than an ashtray on a motorbike.” — Juan Beato


You use one word to modify two other words, in two different ways. An example of a zeugma is, “She broke his car and his heart.” It can be used for humorous effect.