Adeeyoyo's Blog

I write what I feel…





My dear, he said,
How nice to see you again.
Would you dance with me?
He bent his head
And kissed her hand,
Lingering longer
Than he need.

She looked at him,
Met his eyes for an instant
Then dropped her gaze.
Unwilling to show
The dislike she felt.
I would love to, she replied,
If you only could.

noun • /KAR-ee-un-tiz-um/ • a gracefully veiled insult.


Charientism is the hardest of the four for me to specify because the definitions don’t always agree with each other. The OED has “gracefulness of style, expression of an unpleasant thing in a pleasant style.” Anyone who has ever studied New Testament Greek can see the word “Charis” behind it, which is the central NT term for “grace.” So, charientism appears simply to be an ability to speak graciously, and even to “cover over” the rough spots or unpleasant realities of the moment with smooth speech. Thus, a diplomat would need to practice charientism regularly. In classical Greek the term charientismos describes a person who is a wit or jester.

It can also refer to someone who is “charming.” One who is a charientismos is opposite to someone who speaks in a piercing, sharp, hasty or earnest manner. In his online rhetoric, Professor Burton defines the term as “mollifiying harsh words by answering them with smooth and appeasing mock.” Maybe. The root concept, however, seems to be the “charm” of the person responding, who is able by the calm and even gently ironic or humorous manner to “take the sting” out of what has been said. It is a very valuable verbal skill to have.


Author: adeeyoyo

I am a middle-aged South African woman, living in Johannesburg. I began writing poetry towards the end of May 2010. I love animals – sometimes more than people! I am back after a break. Thanks for still being here, if you are! Missed you! xxx

8 thoughts on “Charientism

  1. haha! Touche adee!


    • You know, Cin, many is the time that I have wished I could come up with a line to put someone in his place, but only think of what I could have said hours/days/weeks later! Sometimes, I must admit, it’s probably a good thing. 😀


  2. Well, you have a real talent for poetry. I’ve liked each and every one I’ve read. This on especially. Hope you keep it up, I’ll be following.


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