[ ap-uh-sahy-uh-pee-sis ]
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noun,plural ap·o·si·o·pe·ses [ap-uh-sahy-uh-pee-seez]. /ˌæp əˌsaɪ əˈpi siz/. Rhetoric.
  1. a sudden breaking off in the midst of a sentence, as if from inability or unwillingness to proceed.

Origin of aposiopesis

1570–80; <Late Latin <Greek: literally, a full silence, equivalent to aposiōpē- (verbid stem of aposiōpáein to be fully silent; apo-apo- + siōpáein to be silent) + -sis-sis

Other words from aposiopesis

  • ap·o·si·o·pet·ic [ap-uh-sahy-uh-pet-ik], /ˌæp əˌsaɪ əˈpɛt ɪk/, adjective

Words Nearby aposiopesis

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use aposiopesis in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for aposiopesis


/ (ˌæpəʊˌsaɪəˈpiːsɪs) /

nounplural -ses (-siːz)
  1. rhetoric the device of suddenly breaking off in the middle of a sentence as if unwilling to continue

Origin of aposiopesis

C16: via Late Latin from Greek, from aposiōpaein to be totally silent, from siōpaein to be silent

Derived forms of aposiopesis

  • aposiopetic (ˌæpəʊˌsaɪəˈpɛtɪk), adjective

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