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 Dictionary entry overview: What does rhetorical mean? 

RHETORICAL (adjective)
  The adjective RHETORICAL has 2 senses:

1. of or relating to rhetoric
2. concerned with effect or style of writing and speaking

  Familiarity information: RHETORICAL used as an adjective is rare.

 Dictionary entry details 

RHETORICAL (adjective)

Sense 1rhetorical [BACK TO TOP]


Of or relating to rhetoric

Classified under:

Relational adjectives (pertainyms)

Context examples:

accepted two or three verbal and rhetorical changes I suggested / the rhetorical sin of the meaningless variation


rhetoric (using language effectively to please or persuade)

Sense 2rhetorical [BACK TO TOP]


Concerned with effect or style of writing and speaking

Context example:

a rhetorical question is one asked solely to produce an effect (especially to make an assertion) rather than to elicit a reply


stylistic (of or relating to style (especially in the use of language))

poetic; poetical (characteristic of or befitting poetry)

oratorical (characteristic of an orator or oratory)

grandiloquent; magniloquent; tall (lofty in style)

forensic (of, relating to, or used in courts of law or public debate or argument)

embellished; empurpled; over-embellished; purple (excessively elaborate or showily expressed)

flowery; ornate (marked by elaborate rhetoric and elaborated with decorative details)

bombastic; declamatory; large; orotund; tumid; turgid (ostentatiously lofty in style)

anapaestic; anapestic ((of a metric foot) characterized by two short syllables followed by a long one)


fancy (not plain; decorative or ornamented)

figurative; nonliteral ((used of the meanings of words or text) not literal; using figures of speech)

formal ((of spoken and written language) adhering to traditional standards of correctness and without casual, contracted, and colloquial forms)


unrhetorical (not rhetorical)

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