Figure Name epitrope
Source Silva Rhetoricae (http://humanities.byu.edu/rhetoric/Silva.htm); Ad Herennium 4.29.39 ("permissio"); Sherry (1550) 55 ("epitrope," "permissio," "permission"); Peacham (1577) M4r; Putt. (1589) 234 ("epitropis," "the figure of reference"); JG Smith (1665) ("epitrope"); Garrett Epp (1994) ("permissio," "epitrope"); Vinsauf (1967) ("permissio"); Holmes (1806) ("epitrope"); Bullinger (1898) ("epitrope; or, admission"); Norwood (1742) ("epitrope")
Earliest Source None
Synonyms epitropis, concessio, permissio admission, figure of reference, figure of submission, permissio
Etymology from Gk. epi, "upon" and trope, "turn" ("to yield")
Type Chroma
Linguistic Domain Semantic

1. A figure in which one turns things over to one's hearers, either pathetically, ironically, or in such a way as to suggest a proof of something without having to state it.

Epitrope often takes the form of granting permission (hence its Latin name, permissio), submitting something for consideration, or simply referring to the abilities of the audience to supply the meaning that the speaker passes over (hence Puttenham's term, figure of reference). Epitrope can be either biting in its irony, or flattering in its deference.

A specific form of epitrope is the (apparent) admission of what is wrong in order to carry our point. (Silva Rhetoricae)

2. A figure when we seriously or Ironically permit a thing. &c.; Epitrope, Permissio, permission, derived from [epitrepo] permitto, concedo, to permit or grant. It is the suffering of a deed: A figure when we either seriously or Ironically permit a thing, and yet object the inconveniency: this Ironical permission imports as much as an earnest prohibition, though the words are otherwise. (Note in margin: Hereunto is Synchoresis of kin.) (JG Smith)

3. Surrender of a situation to the will of another; often for pity or irony. (Garrett Epp)

4. Epitrope is a forme of speech by which the speaker granteth to some thing ironically, as much in meaning as an earnest forbidding, although the wordes be otherwise. (Peacham)

5. 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)

6. Epitrope gives leave and facts permits, Whether it speaks sincere or counterfeits. (Holmes)

7. Admission of Wrong in order to gain what is Right... The Figure is used when we surrender a point which we feel to be wrong, but we admit it for the sake of argument. In Synchoresis, we concede what is right in itself; but, in Epitrope, we admit what is wrong, giving way to the feelings or unreasonableness of another, in order that we may more effectually carry our point. (Bullinger, 935)

8. EPITROPE. Epitrope, from the Greek, (epitrepo,) concedo. By this Figure we often grant a thing not unwillingly to obtain another, and show more effectually the inconvenience of such a practice or principle. (Norwood, 100)


1. Go ahead, make my day... —Clint Eastwood (Silva Rhetoricae)

1. If you seeke the victorie take it, and if you list, triumph. — A. Fraunce (Silva Rhetoricae)

1. Because all things [be] taken away, only is left unto me my body and mind. These things, which only are left unto me of many, I grant then to you and to your power. —R. Sherry (Silva Rhetoricae)

1. Rejoice, O young man, in thy youth; and let thy heart cheer thee in the days of thy youth, and walk in the ways of thine heart, and in the sight of thine eyes: but know thou, that for all these things God will bring thee into judgment. —Ecclesiastes 11:9 (Silva Rhetoricae)

3. Lo, here I lend thee this sharp-pointed sword,

Which if thou please to hide in this true breast

And let the soul forth that adoreth thee,

I lay it naked to the deadly stroke

And humbly beg the death upon my knee. (R3 1.2 qtd. in Garrett Epp)

2. Simo in Terence seems by his words very willing to permit his son to intermarry with Glycerie, when in very deed he with all diligence endeavours to withdraw him from her.

"Yes saith he, let him take her, I wish him good of her, let him go dwell and keep house with her. Go, flie, but you may be safer at home." (JG Smith)

4. An example of Solomon: “Rejoyce O yoong man in thy youth, and let thy hart cheer thee in thy yoong daies, & walke in the waies of thine own heart, and in the sight of thine eyes.” Eccles.11.9.10. The plaine and true meaning hereof, is opened in the verse following. (Peacham)

4. Another of the same Author: “Sleepe a litle slumber a litle and fold thy hands together to sleepe a litle” Prov.6.10.: but he addeth to expound his mind in the next verse. (Peacham)

5. To you, fount of holiness, I wholly dedicate myself from this time. Confer, take away; scourge, spare; command, forbid; do whichever you wish; lo, I am your servant, Lord; use your servant just as you please; whatever you do, I give thanks. (Vinsauf)

6. Go, take your course; I will not stop your rambles. (Holmes)

7. 1 Kings 22:15. -"Go, and prosper: for the LORD shall deliver it unto hand of the king." Micaiah (by Epitrope and Irony) admitted what was in Jehoshaphat's heart, and thus exposed and condemned it. (Bullinger, 935)

8. Rom. 2. 17. Behold, thou art called a Jew, and restest in the law, and makest thy boast of God; and art confident that thou thyself art a guide to the blind. Thou therefore that teachest another theachest thou not thyself? As if he said, I grant thou art an instructer of the foolish, and a teacher of babes; but then, why is thy conversation so unsuitable to thy doctrine? Where is thy examples? Where is thy practice? And, why are they so disagreeable to thy external prosession? Thus, how does our Apostle seem to concede all they desire? To prove at last upon them, that their practice was not consonant to their principles; and from that absurdity, more severely reprehends them. (Norwood, 100)

Kind Of Omission
Part Of
Related Figures irony, paralipsis, figures of speech and audience, figures of pathos, figures of permission
Notes The first 4 examples were numbered sequentially, and the second one had (JG Smith) tag, but they all seem to be from SR so I fixed the numbers to 1 and changed the source tag. -nayoung
Confidence Unconfident
Last Editor Ioanna Malton
Confidence Unconfident
Editorial Notes
Reviewed No