Onedismus

An Introduction to Onedismus

Onedismus (also called Exprobatio; etymologically from the Greek,“oneidizo,” literally “to reproach” ) is a figure exclusively concerned with expressions of reproach. This consists when the speaker expresses reproach upon some persons specifically to reprove their ingratitude.

Exprobatio or Onedismus was initially intended as: ‘an apology or request which asks to be understood in a sense other than the actual words, with the purpose of indirectly expressing hate for one’s opponents. However, in the RenaissanceOpens in new window, the figure came to be explicitly associated with ingratitude, which it was meant to correct by producing a sense of shame in the addressee.’ — (Stefan Daniel Keller, The Development of Shakespeare's Rhetoric: A Study of Nine Plays)

Classic Example
  • Thou art a boil,
    A plague sore, or embossed carbuncle
    In my corrupted blood. But I’ll not chide thee:
    Let shame come when it will; I do not call it,
    I do not bid the thunder bearer shoot.

    — (Williams Shakespeare, King Lear 2.2. p. 412 – 6)
Further Readings:
Peacham, The Garden of Eloquence (1593), p. 130;
Quintilian, Institutio Oratoria, (trans. by D. Russell, 6.2.16).