Definition of rhetorical adjective from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary



    BrE BrE//ˈtɒrɪkl//
    ; NAmE NAmE//ˈtɔːrɪkl//
    Linguistic devices
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  1. 1(of a question) asked only to make a statement or to produce an effect rather than to get an answer ‘Don't you care what I do?’ he asked, but it was a rhetorical question. See related entries: Linguistic devices
  2. 2(formal, often disapproving) (of a speech or piece of writing) intended to influence people, but not completely honest or sincere See related entries: Linguistic devices
  3. 3(formal) connected with the art of rhetoric the use of rhetorical devices such as metaphor and irony She ended her speech with a rhetorical flourish. See related entries: Linguistic devices
  4. Word Originlate Middle English (first used in the sense ‘eloquently expressed’): via Latin from Greek rhētorikos (from rhētor ‘rhetor’) + -al.
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: rhetorical