About This Site

Figaro rips the innards out of things people say and reveals the rhetorical tricks and pratfalls. For terms and definitions, click here.
(What are figures of speech?)
Ask Figaro a question!

This form does not yet contain any fields.

    « Triumph of the Shrill | Main | The Freedom to Ban Gays »

    We’d Love to See His Expense Reports

    whippetresearch.jpgQuote:   “Hell, I couldn’t write a better piece if given a month, five naked research assistants, and a crate of whippets.”  Jack Shafer in Slate.

    Figure of Speechadynata (a-dyn-AH-ta), the last-people-on-earth figure.

    Slate’s media columnist expresses admiration for a colleague’s hurricane story with an adynata (“without power”).  It’s a kind of hyperbole that links impossibilities:  “Even if you and I were the last people on earth, and the survival of humankind depended on us, I still wouldn’t date you.”

    The adynata is like a three-ring circus of absurdity, throwing in dogs, unclad assistants, and long deadlines.  Use it as a humorous way to express, “Words cannot express…”

    Snappy Answer:  “Maybe you would write better if you weren’t thinking about naked research assistants.”

    PrintView Printer Friendly Version

    EmailEmail Article to Friend

    Reader Comments (2)

    I think he means nitrous oxide not dogs here man. Dogs dont come in crates but those wonderful little compressed gas cans do - break them open and suck down the balloons
    August 13, 2006 | Unregistered Commenterme
    Ohhhhh. Figaro is red in the face. He had no idea that "whippets" referred to laughing gas. Apparently, the term comes from whipping cream chargers.

    On the other hand, the illustration (Figaro bakes his own from scratch) wouldn't look as cute, right? Ignorance sometimes really is bliss.
    August 14, 2006 | Registered CommenterFigaro

    PostPost a New Comment

    Enter your information below to add a new comment.

    My response is on my own website »
    Author Email (optional):
    Author URL (optional):
    All HTML will be escaped. Hyperlinks will be created for URLs automatically.