Abstract This essay inquires into the meaning and usage of eikos, an important term in early Greek rhetorical theory. Based on a survey of 394 uses of the verb eoika (of which eikos is the neuter perfect participle) in texts ranging from Homer to Isocrates, it argues that the traditional translation of eikos as “probability” is in some ways misleading. Specifically, the essay proposes: 1) that “to be similar” is the core meaning of eoika, 2) that all other senses of eoika can be seen as extensions of the “similarity” sense, 3) that the “befittingness” sense of eikos continued to be of great importance in the early Attic orators, and 4) that the sense of eikos as that which is befitting or socially expected, and the sense of eikos as that which is verisimilar, work in tandem in the “profiling” strategy of some eikos arguments.

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