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aposiopesis

[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.
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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
Related formsap·o·si·o·pet·ic [ap-uh-sahy-uh-pet-ik] /ˌæp əˌsaɪ əˈpɛt ɪk/, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for aposiopesis

allegory, allusion, analogy, anticlimax, antithesis, bathos, comparison, conceit, device, euphemism, euphuism, exaggeration, expression, flourish, flower, hyperbole, image, imagery, irony, metaphor

Examples from the Web for aposiopesis

Historical Examples of aposiopesis


British Dictionary definitions for aposiopesis

aposiopesis

noun plural -ses (-siːz)
  1. rhetoric the device of suddenly breaking off in the middle of a sentence as if unwilling to continue
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Derived Formsaposiopetic (ˌæpəʊˌsaɪəˈpɛtɪk), adjective

Word Origin for aposiopesis

C16: via Late Latin from Greek, from aposiōpaein to be totally silent, from siōpaein to be silent
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for aposiopesis

n.

rhetorical artifice wherein the speaker suddenly breaks off in the middle of a sentence, 1570s, from Latin, from Greek aposiopesis "a becoming silent," also as a rhetorical figure, from apo- (see apo-) + siope "silence."

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper