Figure Name articulus
Source Silva Rhetoricae (; Ad Herennium 4.19.26; Peacham (1593); Ad Herennium 294-296; Garrett Epp (1994) ("articulus," "comma"); Vinsauf (1967) ("articulus"); Demetrius (1902) ("phrase")
Earliest Source
Synonyms comma, phrase
Etymology L. "clause"
Type Scheme
Linguistic Domain Syntactic

1. Roughly equivalent to "phrase" in English, except that the emphasis is on joining several phrases (or words) successively without any conjunctions (in which case articulus is simply synonymous with the Greek term asyndeton). See also brachylogia.

Articulus is also best understood in terms of differing speeds of style that depend upon the length of the elements of a sentence. The Ad Herennium author contrasts the the slower speed of concatenated membra (see membrum) to the quicker speed possible via articulus. (Silva Rhetoricae)

2. Articulus is a figure which setteth one word from another by cutting the oration. (Peacham)

2. This figure serveth to pleasant brevitie, and also is very convenient to expresse any vehement affections: in peaceable and quiet causes it may be compared to a sembreefe in Musicke, but in causes of perturbation and hast, it may be likened to thicke & violent strokes in sight, or to a thick & thundring peale of ordinance. (Peacham)

3. Occurs when single words are set apart by pauses in staccato speech. (Ad Herennium)

4. A series of single words without connectives, giving a staccato effect. (Garrett Epp)

5. If you wish to be brief, first prune away those devices mentioned above which contribute to an elaborate style; let the entire theme be confined within narrow limits. Compress it in accordance with the following formula. ... Let articulus, with staccato speech, cut short a lengthy account. (Vinsauf)

6. A 'phrase' is commonly defined as 'that which is less than a member.' (Demetrius)


1. Through your ill-will, your injuries, your might, your treachery you have destroyed the enemy (Ad Herennium qtd. in Silva Rhetoricae)

2. By thy follie and wickednesse thou hast lost thy substance, thy good name, thy friends, thy parents, and offended thy Creator. (Peacham)

2. My friends and faithful souldiers, now is the time to shew your selves valiant, couragious, hardie, bold, & constant, considering for what value you shal fight, for your religion, for your wives, your children, your goods, your libertie, your lives, and your countrie, either to die with honor, or live with renown. (Peacham)

2. I will make them to be a reproofe, a proverbe, a scorne, a shame, I will make them desolate, wast, despised, hissed at, and accurssed. (Jerem.5. qtd. in Peacham)

3. "By your vigour, voice, looks you have terrified your adversaries." (Ad Herennium)

3. "You have destroyed your enemies by jealousy, injuries, influence, perfidy." (Ad Herennium)

4. Beguiled, divorcéd, wrongéd, spited, slain! (R&J 4.4 qtd. in Garrett Epp)

5. Of avail to the fallen is aid of this kind: tears, fasting, psalms. (Vinsauf)

Kind Of Series
Part Of
Related Figures asyndeton, brachylogia, membrum, figures of abbreviation
Notes Peacham advises against using this figure for multi-syllable words.
Confidence Unconfident
Last Editor Ashwini Namasivayam
Confidence Unconfident
Editorial Notes
Reviewed No