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Brevitas is a rhetorical style defined in Rhetorica ad Herennium as "the expressing of an idea by the very minimum of essential words."[1][2] "Shit happens" and "c'est la vie" are examples.

By implying more than is said, it is distinguished from tautology and understatement.

Brevitas is related to aphorism, parataxis, sprezzatura and elliptic linguistic style. [3] [4] It contrasts with periphrasis, aureation and pleonasm.


  1. ^ Blacketer (2006). The School of God: Pedagogy and Rhetoric in Calvin's Interpretation of Deuteronomy.
  2. ^ "Changing Minds: Brevitas".
  3. ^ Thijs Weststeijn (2008). The Visible World: Samuel Van Hoogstraten's Art Theory and the Legitimation of Painting in the Dutch Golden Age. Amsterdam University Press. pp. 231–234.
  4. ^ Heinrich F. Plett (2010). Literary Rhetoric: Concepts — Structures — Analyses. Brill Publishers. p. 188.