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rhetorical question

[ ri-tawr-i-kuhl kwes-chuhn, -tor- ]
/ rɪˈtɔr ɪ kəl ˈkwɛs tʃən, -ˈtɒr- /
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noun Rhetoric.

a question asked solely to produce an effect or to make an assertion of affirmation or denial and not to elicit a reply, as “Has there ever been a more perfect day for a picnic?” or “Are you out of your mind?”

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“Was” is used for the indicative past tense of “to be,” and “were” is only used for the subjunctive past tense.

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Also called erotesis, ep·er·o·tes·is [ep-er-uh-tee-sis], /ˌɛp ɛr əˈti sɪs/, er·o·te·ma [er-uh-tee-muh]. /ˌɛr əˈti mə/.

Origin of rhetorical question

First recorded in1835–45

Words nearby rhetorical question

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2021

Example sentences from the Web for rhetorical question

British Dictionary definitions for rhetorical question

rhetorical question

noun

a question to which no answer is required: used esp for dramatic effect. An example is Who knows? (with the implication Nobody knows)
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

Cultural definitions for rhetorical question

rhetorical question

A question posed without expectation of an answer but merely as a way of making a point: “You don't expect me to go along with that crazy scheme, do you?”

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Idioms and Phrases with rhetorical question

rhetorical question

A question asked without expecting an answer but for the sake of emphasis or effect. The expected answer is usually “yes” or “no.” For example, Can we improve the quality of our work? That's a rhetorical question. [Late 1800s]

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.
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