Term of Art: Apercu

Apercu (AA PER SUE): The term would be used by an analyst in a structure such as ‘The writer here presents, as apercu, that women, on the average, are shorter than men.’ That is to say, the comment is that the writer does not present her statement merely as an observation, but instead as if it were an insight, as if it were a particularly astute perception. ‘And then it came to me, women are shorter than men.” This example is deliberately unsubtle because what I mean to stress is that to describe a presentation as apercu is to talk about the manner of presentation rather than to make a comment on the actual ‘insightfulness’ of the comment itself. Like objectivity, apercu describes a rhetorical pose rather than confers a positive evaluation. See also EPIPHANY.

A second meaning of apercu is as a name for a summary, outline, or synopsis.

Excerpted from: Trail, George Y. Rhetorical Terms and Concepts: A Contemporary Glossary. New York: Harcourt Brace, 2000.

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