Invective

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Invective

 

a harsh denunciation or satirical mockery of a real individual or group of individuals, usually accompanied by some displacement in the reality of the portrayal. Invective is characterized by a two-dimensional quality of structure and meaning, which often emphasizes personal accusations for the purpose of public denigration.

The literary forms of invective are varied and include epigrams (by Martial) and polemical articles and speeches (Cicero’s Philippics). Invective was employed by Aristophanes in the comedies Knights and Clouds, by Catullus in his lyrics, by Erasmus in Praise of Folly, and by Diderot in Rameau’s Nephew. The term “invective” is rarely used.