ETYM French rhétorique, Latin rhetorica, Greek, rhetorical, oratorical, from rhetorikos orator, rhetorician; perhaps akin to Eng. word.
1. Study of the technique and rules for using language effectively (especially in public speaking).
2. Using language effectively to please or persuade.
Art of effective expression in words; oratory; bombastic language. Traditionally, the art of public speaking and debate. Rhetorical skills are valued in such occupations as politics, teaching, law, religion, and broadcasting.
Accomplished rhetoricians need not be sincere in what they say; they should, however, be effective, or at least entertaining. Nowadays, “rhetoric” is often a pejorative term (for example, “Cut the rhetoric and tell us what you really think”).