|Source||Silva Rhetoricae (http://humanities.byu.edu/rhetoric/Silva.htm); Rufin; Bede 616-618; Susenbrotus (1540) 16 ("asteismus," "astysmus," "astismus," "urbanitas"); Sherry (1550) 46 ("astysmus," ""urbanitas"); Peacham (1577) D4r; Putt. (1589) 200 (#1—"asteismus," "the merry scoffe or the civill jest"); JG Smith (1665) ("astismus"); Holmes (1806) ("asteismus"); Bullinger (1898) ("asteismos; or, politeness") ("asteïsmos; or, urbanity")|
|Synonyms||asteios, asteismos, astysmus, astismus, facetia, urbanitas, the merry scoffe, civille jest, urbanity, politeness, asteïmos|
|Etymology||from Gk. asteios, "of the city" from astu "city"|
1. Polite or genteel mockery. More specifically, a figure of reply in which the answerer catches a certain word and throws it back to the first speaker with an unexpected twist.
2. A civil and pleasant jest. Astismus, Vrbanitas sine iracundiâ, a kinde of civill jest without prejudice or anger; derived from [asteios] urbanus festivus, civil or pleasant. It is a kinde of an Irony consisting of a pleasant and harmelesse jest: it is taken for any mirth or pleasant speech void of rustical simpliSingle illegible letterity and rudenesse. (JG Smith)
3. Asteismus loves to jest with strokes of wit, And slily with the point of satyr hit. (Holmes)
4. Addition by graceful disclosure of what is professedly concealed... The figure is used when, by pretending to conceal something, the speaker adds some graceful language which discloses it. It comes in here when it is used as an addition by way of reasoning. We have included it also in Figures involving change, where the application of words is affected by way of feeling. (Bullinger, 494)
4. An Expression of Feeling by way of Politeness... the polite and genteel expressions of society: Urbanity as opposed to Rusticity. It is used as a change involving the application of words by way of expression of feeling. (Bullinger, 897)
1. In the following selection from Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing, Beatrice and Benedick vie to see which can outdo the other in the use of asteismus:
Benedick: God keep your ladyship still in that mind! [of not marrying] so some gentleman or other shall scape a predestinate scratch'd face.
2. The merry and pleasant sayings incident hereunto are called Facetia (i.e.) the pleasures and delights of speech which are taken from divers places.
3. Who hates not Bavius Verses, let him love Maevlus's; and he that loves either, let him milk He-goats. (Holmes)
|Kind Of||Addition Opposition|
|Related Figures||sarcasm, irony, paronomasia|
|Notes||from Gk. asteios, "of the city" Also sp. asteismos, astysmus, astismus facetia, urbanitas the merry scoffe, civille jest, urbanity|
|Last Editor||Ioanna Malton|
|Editorial Notes||fixed synonyms, related figures|