[ ri-tawr-i-kuhl, -tor- ]
See synonyms for rhetorical on Thesaurus.com
  1. used for, belonging to, or concerned with mere style or effect, rather than truth, substance, or meaning: Her bold and ingenious analogies, although engaging, are purely rhetorical, adding nothing to our understanding of the issue.

  2. marked by or tending to use exaggerated language or bombast:Fortunately, the rebel leaders did not have the military power to follow through on their fiery rhetorical eruptions.

  1. of, relating to, or concerned with rhetoric, or the skillful use of language to persuade people:She had spent hours with her advisors discussing rhetorical strategy, and now it was time to deliver the speech.

  2. of, relating to, or in reference to a rhetorical question: No need to respond—that was rhetorical.

Origin of rhetorical

First recorded in 1470–80; from Latin rhētoric(us) (from Greek rhētorikós ) + -al1

Other words for rhetorical

Other words from rhetorical

  • rhe·tor·i·cal·ly, adverb
  • rhe·tor·i·cal·ness, noun
  • non·rhe·tor·i·cal, adjective
  • un·rhe·tor·i·cal, adjective

Words Nearby rhetorical

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2024

How to use rhetorical in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for rhetorical


/ (rɪˈtɒrɪkəl) /

  1. concerned with effect or style rather than content or meaning; bombastic

  2. of or relating to rhetoric or oratory

Derived forms of rhetorical

  • rhetorically, adverb

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012