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Updated Feb 5, 2023

The Power of Rhetorical Device: Abominatio


Rhetoric, the art of persuasion through effective communication, has been an integral part of human history. From ancient philosophers to modern politicians, skilled rhetoricians have utilized various techniques to captivate, influence, and persuade their audience. One such powerful rhetorical device is abominatio. In this article, we will explore the concept of abominatio, its definition, and provide accurate examples to illustrate its effectiveness in persuasive discourse.

Understanding Abominatio

Abominatio, derived from the Latin word "abominari" meaning "to abhor" or "to detest," is a rhetorical device that aims to intensify the negative emotions associated with a person, concept, or idea. By portraying something as repulsive, loathsome, or despicable, rhetoricians seek to evoke strong feelings of disgust, horror, or rejection in their audience. Abominatio can be a potent tool for swaying opinions, as it taps into the primal instincts and emotional responses of individuals.

Examples of Abominatio in Practice

1. Political Speeches

Political speeches often employ abominatio to discredit opponents or policies. Let's consider a hypothetical example:

"My fellow citizens, we cannot allow our great nation to be governed by the likes of Mr. X. His proposed policies are nothing short of an abomination – a direct assault on our values, our freedoms, and our future. We must reject this dark path and choose a brighter, more righteous course."

In this example, the speaker uses abominatio to vilify Mr. X and his policies, painting them as morally repugnant and harmful to the nation.

2. Product Marketing

Abominatio can also be found in product marketing campaigns. Consider the following example for a weight loss supplement:

"Are you tired of feeling trapped in a body you despise? Shed those unsightly pounds and banish the abomination that is excess fat! Our revolutionary product will help you reclaim your confidence, transform your physique, and rid yourself of this monstrous burden."

In this marketing example, abominatio is used to create a negative perception of excess fat, portraying it as something abhorrent and monstrous. By doing so, the product is presented as the solution to this repulsive condition.

3. Courtroom Drama

Abominatio can be a powerful tool in legal rhetoric. In a courtroom drama, a defense attorney might employ abominatio to influence the jury's perception of the prosecution's case. For instance:

"Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, the prosecution's claims are nothing but an abomination of justice. They seek to convict an innocent man based on flimsy evidence and baseless accusations. We must not allow this travesty to occur – we must stand against this abhorrent miscarriage of justice."

By using abominatio, the defense attorney aims to evoke a strong emotional response from the jury, framing the prosecution's case as morally repugnant and an affront to justice.

The Impact of Abominatio

Abominatio can be a highly effective rhetorical device when used skillfully. By appealing to the audience's emotions and morality, rhetoricians can sway opinions, shape perceptions, and influence decision-making processes. However, it is important to note that the ethical use of abominatio lies in its responsible deployment rather than manipulation or deception.


Rhetorical devices, such as abominatio, play a significant role in persuasive discourse. By employing abominatio, rhetoricians seek to intensify negative emotions, making their arguments more compelling and memorable. From political speeches to product marketing campaigns and courtroom dramas, abominatio can be found in various forms of communication. Understanding and recognizing the power of abominatio allows us to critically evaluate persuasive techniques and become more discerning consumers of information.

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