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Descriptive label

des-CRIP-tive lay-bull


This figure makes the description of a thing stand for the thing itself. A form of circumlocution—literally “speaking around” in Latin—this figure lets you apply a stark label to your subject. Belonging Tropes make great Descriptive Labels by making a single part or member serve as the description. Technical name for Descriptive Label: periphrasis (per-IF-ra-sis), Greek for “speaking around.”

Rhetoricians say that another form of this figure takes a formal name and makes it stand for a type: “You’re no Jack Kennedy.” But I put that device under the rubric of the belonging trope

He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named Harry Potter

She Who Must Be Obeyed Rumpole of the Bailey

Canada: Drunks and Nothing
India: Tech Support
Middle America: Jesus and Meth
New Zealand: Hobbitts