Figure Name auxesis
Source Silva Rhetoricae (; Quintilian 8.4.3 ("incrementum"); Melanch. ER D4r; Peacham (1577) N4r (#2); Putt. (1589) 226 (#1—"auxesis," "the avancer"); Day 1599 91 (#1—"auxesis," "incrementum"); JG Smith (1665) ("auxesis"); Peacham (1593); De Mille (1882) ("incrementum"); Vickers (1989) ("auxesis (or incrementum)")
Earliest Source None
Synonyms incrementum, the avancer
Etymology Gk. "increase, amplification"
Type Scheme
Linguistic Domain Semantic

1. Arranging words or clauses in a sequence of increasing force. In this sense, auxesis is comparable to climax and has sometimes been called incrementum. (Silva Rhetoricae)

2. A figure of speech in which something is referred to in terms disproportionately large (a kind of exaggeration or hyperbole). (Silva Rhetoricae)

3. Amplification in general. (Silva Rhetoricae)

4. An encreasing; an Exornation when for amplification, a more grave and substantial word, is put in stead of the proper word.; Auxesis, augmentum, an increasing. It is when for the increasing, and amplifying we put a word more grave and substantial in stead of the proper word being lesse.(JG Smith)

This figure (in its second meaning) is often paired with its opposite, meiosis.

5. Auxesis is a forme of speech by which the Orator amplifieth by putting a greater word for a lesse, as to call a proude man Lucifer, a dronkard a swine, an angrie man mad, a covetous man a cutthroate: In praising, as to call an honest man a Saint, a faire Virgin an Angell, good musicke heavenly harmonie.

This figure is chiefly set forth by tropes of words, forasmuch as they paint out things by similitudes, and make them more evident by setting images before the eies, as when we call a craftie fellow a Foxe, a favenous person a cormorant, a patient man Job, but chieflie by Hyperobole, which maketh a large and most ample comparison. (Peacham)

5. Incrementum is a form of speech, which by degrees ascendeth to the top of some thing or rather above the top, that is, when we make our saying grow, & increase by an orderly placing of wordes making the latter word alwaies exceede the former in the force of signification, contrarie to the naturall order fo thinges, for that ever putteth the worthiest, and weighiest words first, but this placeth them alwaies last, as in this example: O my Parmeno the beginnger, the enterpriser, performer and accomplisher of all my pleasures. (Peacham)

With climax is not associated incrementum, once considered as a separate figure. In this the thought with which the sentence begins is enlarged, and its force increased by the addition of others of more importance. (De Mille)

7. Auxesis (or incrementum), where words are arranged in ascending order of importance. (Vickers 493)


1. Said of a scratch:
Look at this wound! (Silva Rhetoricae)

4. In dispraise.

Thus a proud man is called Lucifer, a drunkard a swine, an angry man mad.

In praise.

Thus a fair virgin is called an Angel; good musick celestial harmony; and flowers in medowes, stars. (JG Smith)

5. Another: Neither silver, gold, nor precious stones might be compared to her vertues. (Peacham)

6. "I trust myself once more in your faithful hands. I fling myself again on you for protection. I call aloud on you to bear your own cause in your hearts."-BROUGHAM.
"It is coming fast upon you; already it is near at hand-yet in a few short weeks, and we may be in the midst of those unspeakable miseries the recollection of which now rends your souls asunder."-BROUGHAM. (De Mille)

7. Since brass, nor stone, nor earth, nor boundless sea,
But sad mortality o'er-sways their power . . .
--Shakespeare, "Sonnet 65" (Vickers 493)

Kind Of Symmetry
Part Of
Related Figures figures of definition, hyperbole, meiosis, figures of amplification
Confidence Unconfident
Last Editor Daniel Etigson
Confidence Unconfident
Editorial Notes The definition appears to really be discussing two different figures. This is confusing. (Please sign your name when you're writing notes. Thanks -ark)
Reviewed No