Figure Name expeditio
Source Silva Rhetoricae (http://humanities.byu.edu/rhetoric/Silva.htm); Ad Herennium 4.29.40-41; Peacham (1577) T4r; Putt. (1589) 241 ("expeditio," "the speedie dispatcher"); Day 1599 98 ("expeditio," "enumeratio"); JG Smith (1665) ("expeditio"); Ad Herennium ("elimination") (329-331); Gerrett Epp (1994) ("expeditio," "apophasis"); Vinsauf (1967) ("expeditio"); Peacham 1593; Blount (1653) 40
Earliest Source None
Synonyms enumeratio, elimination, the speedie dispatcher, apophasis
Etymology L. "a freeing, a dispatching from difficulties"
Type Chroma
Linguistic Domain Semantic

1. After enumerating all possibilities by which something could have occurred, the speaker eliminates all but one (apophasis).

Although the Ad Herennium author lists expeditio as a figure, it is more properly considered a method of argument (sometimes known as the "Method of Residues" when employed in refutation.) (Silva Rhetoricae)

2. Expedition, or quick dispatch: a figure when many parts or reasons of an argument being enumerated and touched; all are destroyed, save that only, upon which the speaker intends to stand and rest upon.;EXPEDITIO, expedition, or quick dispatch. Expedition is a figure when many parts or reasons of an argument being enumerated and touched, all are destroyed, save that only upon which the speaker intends to conclude, stand to, and rest upon. (JG Smith)

3. Elimination occurs when we have enumerated the several ways by which something could have been brought about, and all are then discarded except the one on which we are insisting (Ad Herennium)

4. Enumeration of various alternatives, and elimination of all but one. (Garrett Epp)

5. Enumeratio, when the subject is divided into the accidents, the matter into the antecedents, the effect into the causes, and into things annexed and following after the effect. (Peacham)

6. If a mode of expression both easy and adorned is desired, set aside all the techniques of the dignified style and have recourse to means that are simple, but of a simplicity that does not shock the ear by its rudeness. Here are the rhetorical colours with which to adorn your style: (Vinsauf)

7. Expeditio, when many reasons being reckoned by which som thing may be doen or not done, one reason is left which the Orator standeth unto & concludeth upon, and the other are taken away, thus: Seeing this ground was mine, thou must needes shew, that either thou diddest possesse it being void, or made it thine by use, or bought it, or else that it came to thee by heritage: Thou couldest not possesse it voide when I was in possession: also thou canst not make it thine by use: Thou hast not to shew that thou diddest buy it, it could not come to thee by inheritance, and I alive: it followeth then that thou wouldest put me from mine owne ground, before I be dead. (Peacham)

8. "[the first part of division] is Expedition, which (touching upon divers parts) destroys all, but that, on which you mean to rest" (Blount)


1. You either made, purchased, or stole the bomb. Since you lack the intelligence to make it and the funds to purchase it, it can only be that you have stolen it. (Silva Rhetoricae)

3. " Since it is established that the estate you claim as yours was mine, you must show that you took possession of it as vacant land, or made it your property bv right of prescription, or bought it, or that it came to you by inheritance. Since 1 was on the premises, you could not have taken possession of it as vacant land. Even by now you cannot have made it vour property by right of prescription. No sale is disclosed. Since I am alive, my property could not have come to you by inheritance. It remains, then, that you have expelled me by force from my estate." (Ad Herennium)

4. I cannot tell if to depart in silence,
Or bitterly to speak in your reproof,
Best fitteth my degree or your condition.
If not to answer, you might haply think
Tongue-tied ambition, not replying, yielded
To bear the golden yoke of sovereignty
Which fondly you would here impose on me.
If to reprove you for this suit of yours,
So seasoned with your faithful love to me,
Then, on the other side, I checked my friends.
Therefore - to speak, and to avoid the first,
And then, in speaking, not to incur the last -
Definitively I answer you. (R3 3.7 qtd. in Garrett Epp)

2. One of these courses must be taken; either you must distinctly observe and practise these rules, or deny that ever you received instructions, or alledge want of capacity in your self, or want of use of them in your life. (JG Smith)

5. What may we thinke of man, when we consider the heavy burthen of his miserie, the weaknesse of his patience, the imperfection of his understanding, the conflicts of his counsels, the insatietie of his mind, the brevitie of his life, and the certaintie of his death? (Peacham)

6. But such a one had to be a pure man, or an angel, or God. A pure man he could not be, for pure man straightway was impure and could easily fall into sin. Angel you could not be, for since the angelic nature had fallen you would not stand firm in ours. Yet let it be so! Let it be granted that one or the other had stood strong in virtue and wrought our redemption. (Vinsauf)

7. Knowing that almightie God hath in his hand all thinges that we neede, how shall we come by them? we can take nothing from him by force, for he is most strong and mightie: nor get any thing from him by fraud, for he is most wise and provident: if we challenge any thing of him by law, he will prove that he oweth us nothing, wherefore it followeth that either he must give them, or else we must go without them. (Peacham)

8. "One of these courses must be taken, either you must distinctly observe and practise these Rules, or deny that ever you received Instructions, alledge want of capacity in yourself, or want of use of them in your life. That they are not necessary, you cannot say, for what more necessary in your life, then to write well?" (Blount)

Kind Of Opposition
Part Of
Related Figures figures of division and enumeration, dialysis, enumeratio, eutrepismus, figures of refutation, metastasis, figures of reasoning, figures of amplification
Notes "Type of" does not seem to apply.
Confidence Unconfident
Last Editor Mark Carter
Confidence Unconfident
Editorial Notes I think it's an Opposition type - incorrect and correct elements are opposed
Reviewed No