Figure Name aetiologia
Source Ad Herennium 4.16.23-24 ("ratiocinatio"); Peacham (1577) S4r; Putt. (1589) 236 ("etiologia," "the reason rend," "the tell cause"); Day 1599 95 ("etiologia"); Silva Rhetoricae (; JG Smith (1665) ("aetiologia"); Peacham 1593; Holmes (1806) ("aetiology," "aetiologia"); De Mille (1882) ("aitiologia"); Bullinger (1898) ("aetiologia; or, cause shown")
Earliest Source None
Synonyms etiologia apodeixis, redditio causae, ratiocinatio etiology, the reason rend, the tell cause, cause shown, aitiologia, causae redditio
Etymology from Gk. aitia, "a cause" and logos, "a description"
Type Trope
Linguistic Domain Semantic

1. A figure of reasoning by which one attributes a cause for a statement or claim made, often as a simple relative clause of explanation. (Silva Rhetoricae)

2. A rendring of a reason: a figure when the reason of a thing is shown. Aetiologia, Causae redditio, a shewing of a reason, derived from, [aitiologeo] rationem reddo, to render a reason. Aetiologia is a figure or form of speech, whereby the Orator or speaker joyneth reason or cause to a proposition or sentence uttered, as an authentick seal thereunto. (JG Smith)

3. Aetiologia is a forme of speech by which the Orator joineth reason or cause to a proposition uttered, Cicero: There be no wiles more privie then these which be hid in dissimulation of dutie, and in custome of acquaintance, for thou maist easilie by taking heede shun an open enemie: but this hid, inward and familiar evill, doth not onely appeare, but also opresse, before thou shalt be able to foresee and espie it. Cicero for Archia: Looke what wit or eloquence I have, Judges, Archia may justly challenge it to himselfe: for he was the first and principall, that caused mee to follow these manner of studies. (Peacham)

4. Aetiology gives ev'ry thame a reason; And, with convincing arguments, doth season. (Holmes)

Another kind of explanation consists in the statement of a reason for a thing. (De Mille)

6. The rendering a Reason for what is said or done... The figure is used when, either directly or indirectly, the speaker or writer renders a reason for what he thinks, says, or does. (Bullinger, 930)


1. I mistrust not the judges, for they are just. (Silva Rhetoricae)

1. So, as much as in me is, I am ready to preach the gospel to you that are at Rome also. For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. —Romans 1:15-16 (Silva Rhetoricae)

2. In vain it is to water the plant, the root being perished. (JG Smith)

3. An example of the Prophet Amos, “thus saith the Lord: For three and foure wickednesses of Edom, I will not spare him, because he persecuted his brother with the sword, bare hatred very long, and so kept indignation alwaies by him.” Amos.1. (Peacham)

3. Another: “He brought me forth into a place of libertie, he brought me forth even because he had a favor unto me.” Psal.18. (Peacham)

3. Another: “So that they are not without excuse, because that when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankefull, & c.” Rom.1. (Peacham)

4. Despise pleasure; for pleasure bought with pain, hurteth. (Holmes)

5. "As Caesar loved me, I weep for him; as he was fortunate, I rejoice at it; as he was valiant, I hoor him; but, as he was ambitious, I slew him." (De Mille)

6. Rom. 1:13. -"Now I would not have you ignorant, brethren, that oftentimes I purposed to come unto you, (but was let hitherto,) that I might have some fruit among you also, even as among other Gentiles."

Verses 15, 16: "I am ready to preach the Gospel to you that are at Rome also. For I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ; for it is the power of God unto salvation."

So Rom. 3:20; 4:14, 15, and all other passages where the word "For" points out the reason, of "Therefore" shows the cause. (Bullinger, 930)

Kind Of Symmetry
Part Of
Related Figures figures of reasoning, anthypophora, apophasis, enthymeme, prosapodosis, ratiocinatio
Confidence Unconfident
Last Editor Ioanna Malton
Confidence Unconfident
Editorial Notes
Reviewed No