An Introduction to Categoria

Categoria (etymologically from Greek, literally means “accusation,” or “charge.”), is a rhetorical device by which in its usage consists in exposing the negative acts or vices of one's adversary; often done in the adversary’s presence.

Categoria involves a charge of wickedness from one person (the accuser) to another (the accused), and similarly, relates to anticategoriaOpens in new window — a charge and countercharge; here, the people involved are both accusers and accused.

Examples of Categoria
  • “I accuse General Billot of having held in his hands absolute proof of Dreyfus’s innocence and covering it up, and making himself guilty of this crime against mankind and justice, as a political expedient and a way for the compromised General Staff to save face …”
  • (Emile Zola, J’Accuse, 1.13.1898 [p.47].)

  • Will you deny your late night trysts with that man's wife? Shall we discuss your incessent drinking? Your shady business deals?
  • — (Courtesy of: Silva RhetoricaeOpens in new window )

Categoria is literally an accusation, it is the precise synonym of Accusatio.

Further Readings:
Silver Rhetoricae | Figures: CategoriaOpens in new window
ThoughtCo. | Glossary of Grammatical & Rhetorical Terms: Categoria | Definition and Example in RhetoricOpens in new window
Gregory T. Howard | Dictionary of Rhetorical Terms CategoriaOpens in new window