Share this entry

Share this page

elocution

Syllabification: el·o·cu·tion
Pronunciation: /ˌeləˈkyo͞oSH(ə)n
 
/

Definition of elocution in English:

noun

1The skill of clear and expressive speech, especially of distinct pronunciation and articulation.
Example sentences
  • Authors of conduct manuals saw elocution as a skill to enhance the home, for reading aloud was regarded as an activity well suited to the woman's role in the domestic sphere.
  • It's a fascinating process in and of itself, a skill of elocution mixed with a keen sense of observation.
  • Another of Roberts' fans, while filming, was Gay Harden, who portrays a teacher of speech, elocution and poise.
Synonyms
phrasing, delivery, public speaking
1.1A particular style of speaking.

Origin

late Middle English (denoting oratorical or literary style): from Latin elocutio(n-), from eloqui 'speak out' (see eloquence).

More
  • ventriloquist from (mid 17th century):

    Ventriloquists speak with their belly—the word is based on Latin venter ‘belly’ and loqui ‘to speak’, from which elocution (early 16th century), eloquent (Late Middle English), and loquacious (late 17th century) also derive. Originally a ventriloquist was a person appearing to speak from their abdomen because of spiritual possession. For someone who practises the skill for public entertainment it dates from just before 1800.

Derivatives

elocutionary

1
Pronunciation: /-ˌnerē/
adjective
Example sentences
  • The pure work implies the elocutionary disappearance of the poet.
  • It is discourse stripped of meaning, an elocutionary fragment that represents a form of expression that, at that time, was already referred to as ‘trance, hypnotic, or intentionless’ music.
  • The elocutionary movement that pervaded both academic and popular spheres of nineteenth-century rhetorical life actually began some decades before, in the latter half of the eighteenth century.

elocutionist

2
noun
Example sentences
  • I remember in particular one extremely talented girl - a gifted elocutionist and actor.
  • Such a criterion has been used by elocutionists and others in attempts to ‘improve’ speech, but without great success: spoken usage that is too ‘prosy’ sounds artificial and perhaps pretentious.
  • But the elocutionists, like the rest of the New Rhetorical movement, were doing more than simply borrowing the status of the classical tradition as a foundation for their work.

Definition of elocution in:

Share this entry

Share this page

 

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.

Get more from Oxford Dictionaries

Subscribe to remove ads and access premium resources

Word of the day tenebrous
Pronunciation: ˈtenəbrəs
adjective
dark; shadowy or obscure