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41

This is an example of metanalysis: taking two words that occur in close proximity, and re-analyzing them so that the word boundary changes position. In this case, the common phrase an other is reanalyzed as a nother, which then allows the insertion of the word whole to give a whole nother. Metanalysis has happened several times in English, the most common ...


33

The specific example you posted is technically a riddle: A riddle is a statement or question or phrase having a double or veiled meaning, put forth as a puzzle to be solved. That doesn't really answer the more generic question in your title, however. Nor does it address your friend's assertion that all questions are valid. Strictly speaking, not all ...


32

You may be looking for metonymy. If you're looking for other examples, governments are often referred to like this—at least, Westminster for the UK parliament, and Washington for the US government. (In fact, looking up Westminster on Wikipedia was how I found metonym.)


24

Antimetabole is I think what you’re after: In rhetoric, antimetabole … is the repetition of words in successive clauses, but in transposed grammatical order (e.g., "I know what I like, and I like what I know"). It is similar to chiasmus although chiasmus does not use repetition of the same words or phrases.


21

This is an example of synecdoche. In these examples, the company HQ is a part of the city as a whole. The city is being used as a metaphor for the company. I wonder if these are being used in a slightly euphemistic way. It allows one to refer to the company without referring to directly, perhaps granting license to say something negative about the company ...


16

This is exactly the case of sophistry. Because he knows that he is playing a trick. Sophistry: the clever use of reasons or explanations that seem correct but are really false, in order to deceive people If he didn't know that he is playing some trick on you I would call it fallacy. Fallacy: a weakness in someone’s argument or ideas which is ...


16

To answer the question of difference between Dancrumb's synecdoche and John Bartholomew's metonym, Wikipedia describes it thusly: When the distinction is made, it is the following: when A is used to refer to B, it is a synecdoche if A is a component of B and a metonym if A is commonly associated with B but not actually part of its whole. Redmond and ...


14

In addition to JSBangs' metanalysis reference I found the following in classical rhetoric (as one often does): Tmesis, Gk. "a cutting", Also sp. timesis, dissectio Interjecting a word or phrase between parts of a compound word or between syllables of a word. Examples: In the following sentence the word "appear" occurs between the two ...


14

I think the word you are looking for is recursive. pertaining to or using a rule or procedure that can be applied repeatedly. In your example YAML Ain't Markup Language YAML is a recursive acronym Although God is...well, only God can define God. is more like circular reasoning, which I suppose could be seen as a basic form of recursion. Similar to ...


13

In rhetoric, this omne trium perfectum (all in threes is perfect or rule of three) is referred to as crescendo, auxesis or climax - an arrangement in order of increasing importance. Auxesis also refers more generally to placement of words or phrases in certain order to obtain climactic effect. When restricted to three phrases it can be referred to as ...


12

Autological word. A word is autological or homological if it describes itself. The common term for this is a backronym, a back-formation acronym. Also known as recursive acronym/ metacronym/ recursive initialism, this is a fun way to coin names for new programming languages and such. RPM, PHP and YAML were originally conventional initialisms which were ...


11

To take the best-known passage alone, rather than the whole speech, and skip over duplicates, we can quickly show that this is the case: we Old English we shall Old English sceal fight Old English feohtan on Old English on a variant of Old English an the Old English þe, from earlier Old English se beaches Old English bæce/bece landing Modern English ...


10

This is an example of litotes, which is stating a positive through a negative. It just means that [X] is not bad, that there are many alternatives that are worse. In the sentence you link to If you are just interested in a simple command line processor which uses MSXML 6 then you could do worse than using a simple JScript application. the person who ...


10

It means that there are ordinary, run-of-the mill dinner jackets, and then there are special, well-cut, expensive dinner jackets, of the sort that a millionaire, master criminal or international secret agent would wear. The idiom can be used for other things too: I've tried pizza and I don't really like it. Ah, but there's pizza, and there's pizza. ...


10

Apophasis is exactly what you seek. To borrow the definition from Chambers, it means "effectively saying something by stating that you will not mention it." It is a commonly-used word in theology: a description of God is apophatic when He is described using what He is not. EDIT (adding another answer after FumbleFingers' comment) - Paralipsis. Once again ...


10

This might be a form of catacosmesis, which is the ordering of components (usually words, not arguments) from most to least important. It is the opposite of climax (rhetorically speaking), so perhaps you might refer to arguments arranged this way as anticlimactic. But the structure you cite is more about stating an argument, then adding a condition that if ...


9

I don't see what's ironic about it, honestly. What is it about a more secure system being used to hack a less secure system that violates any expectation? That's like saying it's ironic that the reliable, well-armored, heavily armed German Panzer III tanks beat the bejesus out of the legendarily crappy British A9s and A10s in World War II. Well, no, ...


9

There is grammatical ellipsis, which in general case might not introduce the sense of accelerated time, but quite the reverse, depending on how hard is it to parse, for example: The average person thinks he isn't. The parsing here needs backtracking which slows the reading, but gives an effect of delayed and double, in-depth comprehension. In terms of ...


8

Tu quoque: (Latin for "you, too" or "you, also") or the appeal to hypocrisy, is a logical fallacy that attempts to discredit the opponent's position by asserting the opponent's failure to act consistently in accordance with that position


7

There are a few names for (rhetoric) vices that refer to using wrong words or wrong expressions at wrong places. You are probably looking for acyrologia, An incorrect use of words, especially the use of words that sound alike but are far in meaning from the speaker's intentions. Note: Malapropisms are a kind of acyrologia. or malapropism, A ...


7

How common is this style? Two examples spring to mind. The shipping news is almost entirely written in that style. Concerns a newspaper writer, inner thoughts composed as headlines, compressed narratives. Heart is broken, re-mended. Sea rolling in the background. Beautiful, poetic, spare. James Elroy, literary crime writer, has taken this style as far it ...


7

Your example is known in law as an alternative pleading, and apparently Freud called it kettle logic, as in, "Your kettle was fine when I returned it, and it was already broken when I borrowed it, and I never borrowed it."


6

The definition of irony can be so elusive. It may help to think of irony as the juxtaposition of two contradicting states, one which is obvious and one which is unexpected. Let's examine the two pieces of your example: Linux is the most secure OS. Linux is used to hack other operating systems. If we could state that the Linux development ...


6

I present words and phrases separately as they influence the emotional charge that is delivered in different ways - words are building blocks, but they are perceived in the context of speech figures: 1) word that has a lot of emotion behind it the first candidate I found are: glittering generalities, which (according to wikipedia) are emotionally ...


6

There are answers and then there are answers. This is, in wider sense, a ploce : The repetition of a single word for rhetorical emphasis. The term is from Gk. plekein, "to plait". Also sp. ploche, ploke, conduplicatio, diaphora, doubler. In this case, specifically, it could be: 1) Antanaclasis (from Gk. anti “against or back,” ana “up” and klasis “a ...


6

Plurals are used in that sentence because the things being listed ARE plural, not singular. The fact that it's a list isn't really important. "I'm talking about your IBMs, your Procter and Gambles, your General Electrics"... means "I'm talking about all of the companies that do work or in other ways similar to: IBM, Procter and Gamble, and General ...


6

This is a form of litotes, which does not have to use double negatives, but always employs understatement. Depending on context, it might also be classed as irony, where what is meant is the opposite of what is actually said. In rhetoric, litotes (/ˈlaɪtətiːz/, US /ˈlɪtətiːz/ or /laɪˈtoʊtiːz/) is a figure of speech in which understatement is employed for ...


5

You're looking for rhetorical affirmations. In addition to the examples given in other answers, Examples: Is the sky blue? Is the ocean salty? Is the sun hot? Is the atomic weight of Cobalt 58.9? (from Egon Spengler in Ghostbusters II)


5

You are talking about inflammatory rhetoric, which describes vague, emotionally charged, but essentially empty words and phrases that are used to influence or persuade an audience. There is also a word like emotive or undescriptive that means that a term is just an empty word (or phrase). I know this word; I have used it to describe "fundamentalism" and ...


5

It's properly called antimetabole — see the linked page for other examples. Though I have to say that I've never heard of this term before. The more usual (if you want to call it that) term is chiasmus, although properly that just means a sentence (or longer grammatical unit) that uses a parallel form without necessarily repeating the same words.



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