Brachylogy

Glossary of Grammatical and Rhetorical Terms

Coffee Break
Brachylogia is not always a vice. Sometimes its obscurity is the price paid for convenient brevity, or signals euphemism or irony. Ex: coffee-break (a break in which to have coffee). coffee break" ( CC BY-SA 2.0) by paulscott56

Definition

Brachylogy is a rhetorical term for a concise or condensed form of expression in speech or writing. Contrast with: battology. Also known as breviloquence.

See Examples and Observations below. Also see:

Etymology
From the Greek, "short" + "speech"

Examples and Observations

  • Brachylogia. . . . Brevity of diction; abbreviated construction; word or words omitted. A modern theorist differentiated this use from ellipsis in that the elements missing are more subtly, less artificially, omitted in ellipsis."
    (Richard Lanham, A Handlist of Rhetorical Terms, 2nd ed. University of California Press, 1991)
  • "My very photogenic mother died in a freak accident (picnic, lightning) when I was three, and, save for a pocket of warmth in the darkest past, nothing of her subsists within the hollows and dells of memory . . .."
    (Vladimir Nabokov, Lolita, 1955)
  • Brachylogia is not always a vice. Sometimes its obscurity is the price paid for convenient brevity, or signals euphemism or irony. Ex: coffee-break (a break in which to have coffee); a social disease (one contracted through close [social] contact). Brachylogia is of great help to the novelist in avoiding repetition of the declarative verbs (to say, etc.)."
    (Bernard Marie Dupriez, A Dictionary of Literary Devices. Univ. of Toronto Press, 1991)
  • "brachylogia (brachiologia; brachylogy; brachiology) Concision of speech or writing; thus also any condensed form of expression, as for example when Antony in Shakespeare's Antony and Cleopatra tells a messenger 'Grates me; the sum,' meaning 'This is annoying me; get to the point of what you have to say.' The term is most often applied to expressions involving the omission of conjunctions, as in the figure known as asyndeton."
    (Chris Baldick, The Oxford Dictionary of Literary Terms. Oxford Univ. Press, 2008)

    Pronunciation: brak-i-LOH-ja, bre-KIL-ed-zhee

    Alternate Spellings: brachylogia