Figure Name noema
Source Silva Rhetoricae (, Peacham's 1577 Garden of Eloquence, Puttenham's 1589 The arte of English poesie, OED; Peacham 1593
Earliest Source None
Synonyms figure of close conceit
Etymology Gk. "thought"
Type Chroma
Linguistic Domain Semantic

1. An obscure and subtle speech. Peacham's 1577 Garden of Eloquence describes this figure as follows: "Noema, when we doe signify some thing so privily that the hearers must be fayne to seeke out the meaning by long consideration." Later Puttenham says "by this figure (Noema) the obscurity of the sence lieth not in a single word, but in an entier speech, whereof we do not so easily conceiue the meaning, but as it were by coniecture" (from the OED).

2. Noema is a forme of speech by which the speaker signifieth something so primly that the hearer must be faine to seeke out the meaning, either by sharpnesse of wit, or long consideration. Hortentius said, that he was never made friends with his mother and his sister: meaning that there was never any debate or contention between them. (Peacham)


2. Quintilian in his 8 booke and 5. chapter bringeth in an example of a certaine woman, who having a brother whom she dearly loved, and had verie oft by giftes and hire, withdrawen him from the dangerous exercise of sword play: and seeing that neither by the perswasion of her love, nor by the allurement of her giftes her desire might take effect, while he was a sleepe she cut off his thombe: which injurie when with great furie he fought to revenge, she thus signfied her minde. O brother (saith she) thou art well worthie of a perfect hand without maime, understanding that it were not amisse, that such a one should meet with his own destruction, that did so oft seeke it with his owne will. (Peacham)

Kind Of Omission
Part Of
Related Figures figures of obscuring
Confidence Unconfident
Last Editor Ashley Rose Kelly
Confidence Unconfident
Editorial Notes
Reviewed No