Figure Name charientismus
Source Silva Rhetoricae (; Bede 616; Susenbrotus (1540) 17; Sherry (1550) 46 ("charientismus," "graciosa nugutio"); Peacham (1577) D4v; Putt. (1589) 201 ("charientismus," "the privy nippe"); Day 1599 80 ; JG Smith (1665) ("charientismus"); Holmes (1806) ("charientismus"); Norwood (1742) ("charientismus")
Earliest Source None
Synonyms graciosa nugutio, the privy nippe
Etymology Gk. "gracefulness of style"
Type Trope
Linguistic Domain Semantic

1. Mollifying harsh words by answering them with a smooth and appeasing mock. (Silva Rhetoricae)

2. Pleasantnesse: a trope whereby unpleasing matters are mitigated with pleasant words.; Charientismus, urbanitas, pleasantnesse, good grace in speaking; derived from [charientizomai] jocor, to jest: Charientismus is a Trope, or form of speech which mitigates hard matters with pleasant words. It is a kinde of an Irony, and is, When for rough and unpleasing words, sweet and smooth words are returned. (JG Smith)

3. Charientismus, when it speaks, doth choose The softer for the harsher words to use. (Holmes)

4. CHARIENTISMUS. Charientismus, a Figure when we return a very mild, and gentle answer, altho' we are not insensible to the provocation. (Norwood, 128)


1. Bite not my nose off I pray you. (Silva Rhetoricae)

1. Don't have a cow. (Silva Rhetoricae)

2. A certain man being apprehended, and brought before Alexander the Great, King of Macedonia, for railing against him, and being demanded by Alexander why he and his company had so done, he made this answer, Had not the wine failed, we had spoken much worse, whereby he signified that those words proceeded rather from wine then malice; by which free and pleasant confession, he asswaged Alexanders great displeasure, and obtained remission. (JG Smith)

3. Be not so angry; Heaven send better News. (Holmes)

4. John 18. 23. Jesus answered him, if I have spoken evil, bear witness of the evil; but if will, why smitest thou me? How does our Blessed Saviour not render evil, for evil? How does he patiently suffer the affront, and meekly expostulate for the injury he received? And, how does the soft answer turn the wrath away? Prov. 15. 1. (Norwood, 129)

Kind Of Opposition
Part Of
Related Figures irony, sarcasm, asteismus, meiosis
Confidence Unconfident
Last Editor Ioanna Malton
Confidence Unconfident
Editorial Notes fixed synonyms
Reviewed No