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rhetorical question

noun
1.
a question asked solely to produce an effect or to make an assertion and not to elicit a reply, as “What is so rare as a day in June?”.
Origin
1835-1845
1835-45
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples from the web for rhetorical questions
  • These are not rhetorical questions, even though they are probably unanswerable by you.
  • Their thesis is often insinuated by asking rhetorical questions.
  • Fight sarcasm with sarcasm: some readers peppered their anger with rhetorical questions and sprightly digs.
  • One way to involve your audience is to ask rhetorical questions.
  • Some types of questions, such as rhetorical questions, were used only by proficient speakers.
  • The subject lends itself to rhetorical questions and the book is filled with them, nearly all unanswered.
  • It is also appropriate to ask rhetorical questions that are not meant to be answered by the student, but that encourage thinking.
  • These are rhetorical questions that do not need an answer in the context of this decision.
British Dictionary definitions for rhetorical questions

rhetorical question

noun
1.
a question to which no answer is required: used esp for dramatic effect. An example is Who knows? (with the implication Nobody knows)
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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rhetorical questions in Culture

rhetorical question definition


A question posed without expectation of an answer but merely as a way of making a point: “You don't expect me to go along with that crazy scheme, do you?”

The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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Idioms and Phrases with rhetorical questions

rhetorical question

A question asked without expecting an answer but for the sake of emphasis or effect. The expected answer is usually “yes” or “no.” For example, Can we improve the quality of our work? That's a rhetorical question. [ Late 1800s ]
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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Word of the Day

Difficulty index for rhetorical question

Few English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for rhetorical

15
16
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