Definition of rhetorical in English:


Syllabification: rhe·tor·i·cal
Pronunciation: /rəˈtôrikəl


  • 1Of, relating to, or concerned with the art of rhetoric: repetition is a common rhetorical device
    More example sentences
    • Such an ambivalence would make for incoherence and would be hard to accept if we had here mere rhetorical devices and style recipes.
    • Yet isn't prosopopeia a rhetorical device that is found, as a matter of course, in all poetry?
    • Hamlet as a play is similarly preoccupied by slander, misrepresentation and selves fabricated from the nothings of rhetorical tropes.
    stylistic, oratorical, linguistic, verbal
  • 1.1Expressed in terms intended to persuade or impress: the rhetorical commitment of the government to give priority to primary education
    More example sentences
    • In the second phase it will be necessary to be practical as well as rhetorical, to persuade as well as instruct.
    • But one has to be aware of the rhetorical value that these terms are going to have.
    • The bottom line is that the party maintains a rhetorical commitment to small government but tacitly admits that their cause is hopeless.
    extravagant, grandiloquent, magniloquent, high-flown, orotund, bombastic, grandiose, pompous, pretentious, overblown, oratorical, turgid, flowery, florid
    informal highfalutin
    rare fustian
  • 1.2(Of a question) asked in order to produce an effect or to make a statement rather than to elicit information.
    More example sentences
    • It might be a rather petulant rhetorical question, or he might just be trying to keep me on the phone.
    • Kyle didn't offer him the time to answer the rather rhetorical question.
    • It was a statement, a rhetorical question, and just by looking at her he was sure that it had made her angry.



Pronunciation: /-ik(ə)lē/
More example sentences
  • First, rights rhetorically acknowledge what we fundamentally value.
  • The parallelism, while rhetorically effective, was also overly glib.
  • His stance also may have been influenced by a US retreat, at least rhetorically, from its war to eradicate coca leaf.


late Middle English (first used in the sense 'eloquently expressed'): via Latin from Greek rhētorikos (from rhētor 'rhetor') + -al.

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Pronunciation: ˌkələrəˈto͝orə
elaborate ornamentation of a vocal melody