Tapping the Verbal Motherlode
Dictionaries, Glossaries, Rhetorical Devices,
Word Play and More
by Patricia Kutza
Promoting your business is a continual exercise—expressed in spontaneous
gestures like sharing business cards with another customer at the supermarket
checkout counter, as well as in more planned gestures like book signings and
Sharing your business card sounds painless enough. Speaking in public? "Not in a
lifetime!" you say? While you may associate public speaking with pure terror (as
some well-known professional speakers still do), it may be more useful to focus
on what kind of wonderful boost an entertaining speech can give you and your
You say you don't have the marketing dollars to hire a speechwriter? Not to
worry. . . the Internet is a veritable treasure chest of nuggets you can pluck
to turn a few choice words into gold. Here's a brief tour of this verbal
Word Detective. What's in a Word? Let your audience in on some little-known
word origins . . . even give a quiz! Get all your answers at Ewan Morris' Word Detective
site, where you will find the history of "pixilated," "gumshoe, "pushing the
envelope," "pleased as punch," "bat out of hell," and a whole lot more!
The Straightdope. "Fighting Ignorance Since 1973 . . . (It's taking longer than
we thought)." With such a slogan, even if you don't find what you want here, the
sheer fun of the visit will loosen you up for some serious speechwriting!
Cliché Finder. This clever cliché retrieval service dishes out a heap of
clichés . . . great for stoking the imagination when your creative-juices-tank
is on empty.
A Handbook of Rhetorical Devices.
So you think Catachresis and Synecdoche are
prescription medications? Well think again, and so will your audience, when you
lay some of these rhetorical devices on their unwitting ears. They're actually
fun to read about and even more fun to use.
Copyright 2004 by Patricia Kutza. Patricia Kutza is a San Francisco Bay
Area-based travel and technology writer. She writes about the compelling ways
the technology and hospitality sectors are converging to enhance the traveler's
experience. A search on Google will turn up many of her articles on the Web, and
you can follow her on
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