Distinctio: 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.



"Let me walk you through the five procedural errors that occurred in conjunction with that mission [the flying of 12 cruise missiles back to Barksdale AFB, Louisiana] that facilitated this serious and unprecedented incident. As you see here -- if we'll bring up slide 1, please -- on the morning of August 29th, a team of Minot airmen was dispatched to the base Weapons Storage Area to pick up and transport two pylons to a Barksdale B-52 aircraft. For those of you unfamiliar with the term "pylon," for our purposes today, a pylon is a self-contained package of six cruise missiles that can be quickly mounted to the wing of a B-52."

-- U.S. Department of Defense briefing on B-52 munitions and the "Bent Spear" incident, delivered 20 October 2007 by Major General Richard Y. Newton III, USAF

"I've been in football all my life, really, and I want to say this -- that it's a great game, and it's a Spartan type of game. I mean by that it takes Spartan qualities in order to be a part of it, to play it. And I speak of the Spartan qualities of sacrifice and self-denial rather than that other Spartan quality of leaving the weak to die."

-- Vince Lombardi

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Wash: "This is going to get pretty interesting."

Mal: Define "interesting."

Wash: "Oh, god, oh, god, we're all going to die?

-- delivered by Alan Tudyk and Nathan Fillion (Serenity)

"'Demoralization.' I distinguished in that book two senses of demoralization: the familiar one of the loss of morale, of contentment, and good spirit -- and the more serious one of the loss of morality, of moral bearings and convictions."

-- Gertrude Himmelfarb, John M. Ashbrook Memorial Dinner Address

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"Absent a dramatic change, we know for sure that any deal with Iran will include two major concessions to Iran. The first major concession would leave Iran with a vast nuclear infrastructure, providing it with a short break-out time to the bomb. Break-out time is the time it takes to amass enough weapons-grade uranium or plutonium for a nuclear bomb."

-- Benjamin Netanyahu, Third Joint Session of Congress Address

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"The great, large achievement of liberalism in the 20th century is the welfare State. And that achievement, today, makes additional liberalism virtually impossible. By 'additional liberalism' I mean more of the same -- energetic, high-spending, and high tax, redistributionist egalitarian government."

-- George F. Will, John M. Ashbrook Memorial Dinner Address

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"There are evolving terrorist threats -- they don't go away. We're now dealing with the emerging cybersecurity threat, and when I say 'emerging' -- it really is here -- we have huge responsibilities under that now which are somewhat new."

- Janet Napolitano, Press briefing on the impacts of sequestration on DHS, 2013

"Now, first I should define my terms: 'man' and 'God.' By man, of course, I mean society -- social man...."

-- Timothy Leary, LSD: Methods of Control

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"Barbara, we believe that Assad has used chemical weapons several times over the last several years, violated the international law that has prohibited their use since 1925. Syria is a signatory to that international convention. For them to have done this several times recently -- over the last several years is what I mean by "recently" -- you've got to ask him why he chose now to try it again. I trust he regrets it now considering the damage done to his air force, but when I say he should think long and hard about it, I'll just let the mission speak for itself on that score."

-- SecDef James Mattis, Pentagon Briefing on Shayrat Airbase Missile Strike

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"We must address ourselves to the fact that if we dare end discrimination against women, which means if we dare finally take women seriously as people...."

-- Betty Friedan, Dare We Not Discriminate?

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"It was the best of times, it was the -- I say -- worst of times -- and by worse I'm talkin' as bad -- I say -- as bad as my aunt Jenny's corn puddin'. That stuff will sink you like a stone."

-- delivered by Foghorn Leghorn for GEICO

Rhetorical Figures in Sound

Online Speech Bank

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American Rhetoric.
Created by Michael E. Eidenmuller.
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