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Recording your work

  1. Keep account of the figures that you have modified on your wiki user page. On this page you should list the title of your text, the author, and update the list of figures as you enter them.
  2. Assigned texts are listed on the active assignments page. You should keep your status up-to-date on this page so that other researchers will be able to contact you about if they have a question about work you have done. Once you have completed a text please move this information to the completed works page.
  3. Finally, please record your weekly process on the weekly updates page. This page will help the research leads track individual and group efforts. This also provides an overview of what each research is working on to the entire team.

Wiki articles

See article template.

Creating a database entry

The first step in creating an entry is to ensure that your term is the primary term. This will be the Greek or Latin term that is typically used to describe a particular figure. For instance, "anesis" is the Latin term for what is called "abating" in English. A best practice rule, for now, is to simply follow Silva Rhetoricae's lead and determine what the primary term is based on their usage. The second step in creating an entry is to ensure the entry has not already been added. In version 0.1 of the software, the current version, there is no search functionality. You will need to search the page with your browser (CTRL-F, in most cases). If the entry has not yet been created please click "new entry" in the upper-left hand corner of the screen. You will be taken to a new page.

Name of Figure

Remember, the name of the figure should be the primary name of the figure. Typically you can determine which is the primary name by consulting Silva Rhetoricae. Figures should be entered into this field without any capitalization.

e.g., ploce


The source field is used to list all of the sources we have drawn from and also potential sources we may use in future. Silva Rhetoricae has a list of sources for many figures. This list can be found at the bottom of the frame with the figures and should be added to the source field. Please separate all sources with a semicolon.

e.g., Silva Rhetoricae (; Peacham (1577); Puttenham (1589); Day (1599)

The sources should we entered in the following order:

<sources listed in silva rhetoricae> <silva rhetoricae link> <sources entered by Rhetorical Figure Ontology editors>

e.g., Day (1599); Puttenham (1589); Peacham (1577); Silva Rhetoricae (; Peacham (1593)

Note that a semicolon is the delimiter for this field, not a comma.

Original Source

The original source field is designed to cite the first instance/use of a figure. For instance, if Peacham was the first to use a figure you would cite his work and the year. Please try to cite first editions where possible, even if you are not using that edition for the rest of the entry.

e.g., Peacham (1577) -- the first edition of The Garden of Eloquence, and not: Peacham (1593) -- the edition online at Tufts (


Synonyms describe terms that have the same, or nearly the same, meaning. Typically these words can be used interchangeably without dramatically altering the meaning of a phrase. In this database we used the term synonym in the traditional sense as well as to mean alternative spellings. Figures should be entered into this field without any capitalization.

In Sliva Rhetoricae a list of alternative spellings is provided in the upper right hand corner of the frame containing the figure; ensure that you include alternative spellings in the list of synonyms. Separate multiple terms with a comma--write your term, follow it directly by a comma and then a single space. Be consistent!

Due to the complex etymological history of many rhetorical figures, you may come across terms that are defined as two figures in another language. For example, Sylva Rhetoricae defines "affirmation" as the English equivalent for both "cataphasis" and "affirmatio," yet "cataphasis" and "affirmatio" have distinct meanings. In situations such as this, "cataphasis" and "affirmatio" are synonymous with "affirmation," but "cataphasis" and "affirmatio" are each other's Related Figures (see below).


Silva Rhetoricae contains the etymology for many figures. If you are unable to find this information on SR please consult the OED online, which is accessible through the UW library web site. The etymology should be formatted as <language> <root>,<"english meaning">.

E.g., for ploce the etymology field reads: Gk. plekein, "to plait"

Trope, Chroma, or Scheme

Tropes, closely aligned with semantics, are figures whose most salient features are conceptual–such as metaphor (e.g., “my love is a red, red rose”), where the literal falsity draws attention to conceptual similarities between two terms, and synecdoche (e.g., “all hands on deck”), where a representative part is conceptually equivalent to the whole.

Chroma, closely aligned with pragmatics, are figures whose most salient features are intentional–such as erotema (rhetorical question; "Do you think I'm an idiot?"), where the question is intended to suggest a proposition not solicit an answer, and apostrophe (addressing someone/something which is not part of the audience; “O, pardon me, thou bleeding piece of earth [Mark Antony to Caesar’s corpse, in order to rouse the mob]”), where the remarks are intended not to move the addressee but the ‘overhearing’ audience.

Schemes––closely aligned with phonological, morphological, or syntactic realizations––are figures who most salient features are formal–such as rhyme (e.g., "quick flick"), where the sound calls attention to the word and antimetabole (e.g., "I said what I meant, I meant what I said"), where the symmetrical inversion calls attention to the syntax. Often these figures are have notable shape, structure, or patterning.

Linguistic Domain

This field indicates the types of linguistic characteristic(s) that best mark a rhetorical figure. That is, in what domain of linguistic strategies is the figure realized. Note that one or more may apply, but your choice should be selective rather than inclusive:

  • phonological refers to speech sounds and sound patterns;
  • morphological refers to word constructions and forms as well as variations of those forms (e.g., suffixes, prefixes, co-occurrence);
  • syntactic refers to clauses and phrases;
  • lexical refers to words and word relations;
  • semantic refers to meaning;
  • orthographic refers to lettering or spelling.


Our first definitions came from Silva Rhetoricae, but we have been adding further definitions from a variety of other sources. In order to keep track of the definitions and the examples provided in these other sources we have began using a system of numbering. Each definition corresponds to a number: Silva Rhetoricae is typically the first, so "1." and subsequent definitions are numbered as they are entered. Please note that you must include a parenthetical citation for the definitions as well.

e.g., for ploce the definitions are formatted as:

1. The repetition of a single word for rhetorical emphasis. Ploce is a general term and has sometimes been used in place of more specific terms such as polyptoton (when the repetition involves a change in the form of the word) or antanaclasis (when the repetition involves a change in meaning). (Silva Rhetoricae)

2. Ploce is a forme of speech by which a proper name being repeated, signifieth another thing. (Peacham)

3. Post-classical Latin ploce repetition of the same word in a different sense (5th cent.; in classical Latin (Quintilian) as a Greek word). Ancient Greek anything twisted or woven, web, in Hellenistic Greek also used of rhetorical figures. (OED)


If no example is provided leave the entry blank. Do not include any other information such as "no examples" or "no examples were provided." We want to be able to quickly search the database for entries without examples.

In the case of multiple examples you will number them with respect to the definition.

e.g., for "ploce" there are only example from Peacham (who was designated "2" in the above example for definition):

2. Yet at that day Memmius was Memmius, in the first place Memmius is the proper name of a man, but in the second, it signifieth his manners, which were well knowne. (Peacham)

2. In that great victorie Caesar was Caesar, that is, a mercifull conquerer. (Peacham)

2. Cicero continued Cicero unto the day of his death, meaning, a lover of his countrey, and a most faithfull patrone of the common wealth. (Peacham)

If you come across an instance of an author quoting someone else as an example please be sure to format the parenthetical citation appropriately.

e.g., for Peacham quoting Cicero: Neither did he thinke ... able to suffer cold, thirst, hunger. (Cicero qtd. in Peacham)

or for citing material from the Bible: God was shewed in the flesh ... and received up in glorie. (Apostle Paul in 2.Tim.3. qtd. in Peacham)

Formal Specification [TBD]

Conceptual Specification [TBD]

Linguistic cues

Only include this information if it relevant and/or known. A linguistic cue is a marker that you can use to identify a figure.

e.g., "but" for antithesis

Type of / Kind of

Repetition refers to when a figure uses repetition of sounds (consonants, vowels, or syllables), words, syntax (phrases or clauses) or semantics (concepts).

e.g., Rhyme--Hickory Dickory Dock. The mouse ran up the clock.

Symmetry refers to when a figure pairs two constructions in an inverse ("mirrored") way.

e.g. Antimetabole: When the going gets tough, the tough get going.

Opposition refers to when a figure oppose two structures or concepts.

e.g., Oxymoron: A wanton modesty. Proud humility.

Identity refers to when a figure uses two or more identical elements.

e.g., Ploce: O villain, villain, smiling, damned villain! (Hamlet).

Similarity (partial-identity) refers to when a figure uses resemblance of a concept.

e.g., Simile: My love is like a red, red rose.

Omission refers to when a figure omits expected elements.

e.g., Asyndeton (which omits the expected conjunction, "and"): I came, I saw, I conquered.

Series refers to when a figure establishes a series (through words or concepts).

e.g., Abecedarian: Adorable, beautiful, charming, delightful, exciting, fantastic--you run the gamut from A to Z.

Part of

Part of may be used with figures that have subcategories. Part of relationships appear to be required for Schemes only (e.g., ploche is PART-OF antimetabole).

e.g., prozeugma, mez[s]ozeugma, and hypozeugma are all "Part of" zeugma

Related Figure

A Related Figure describes a term that is not a synonym but is semantically related to the term you are entering. For instance, the term may be antonym of the figure you are entering into the database--or a hyponym or hypernym for that matter. For instance, if you were adding "anesis" to the database you should include "epitasis" as a Related Figure. Anesis means "adding a concluding sentence that diminishes the effect of what has been said previously;" this is the opposite of epitasis, which means "the addition of a concluding sentence that merely emphasizes what has already been stated". While both figures are amplifications of language they are not synonymous. Please ensure that you understand the difference between a Synonym and a Related Figure before proceeding. Also be be consistent in entering related figures, using commas to separate them, and not including definitions. Figures should be entered into this field without any capitalization.


Notes is a field that allows for additional information that might not fit in any of the other fields, but seems particularly important. For example, an author might caution the use of a figure or describe when it is most effective.

Editor's Notes

Editors notes allows an author the opportunity to include any questions, comments, or confusions that they have about an entry. Reviewers will see these notes as they are working and be able to respond to figure-specific questions and concerns. For more wide-reaching problems it is best to include those in the wiki on the editor notes page.

Editors and Reviewers

From the beginning of this project we decided that peer editing was the best way to confirm—or review—an entry’s accuracy. Ergo, all entries in the database are peer-reviewed. The reviews are completed by Editors with "Reviewer" permissions—but Reviewers are nevertheless unable to review and accept their own edits. Reviewers generally have more expertise in linguistics and/or rhetoric than the basic Editor.

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