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Word of the Day
Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Definitions for paralipsis

  1. Rhetoric. the suggestion, by deliberately concise treatment of a topic, that much of significance is being omitted, as in “not to mention other faults.”

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Citations for paralipsis
Paralipsis ... is a Greek term that translates to “leave to the side.” It’s thought to be an ironic way for a speaker to say two things at once. For example, say you wanted to imply that your coworker takes too many coffee breaks without actually accusing him wasting time at work. You might say something like, “I'm not saying that he drinks more coffee than anyone else in the office, but every time I go to the break room, he’s in there.” Jennifer Mercieca, "There’s an insidious strategy behind Donald Trump’s retweets," The Conversation, March 8, 2016
After listing all the glories of Newark, all the familiar set pieces from his novels, after making sly and constant denials that he would dwell on any of it—a rhetorical move, he admitted, known as paralipsis—Roth finally settled into his real theme of the night: death. David Remnick, "Philip Roth's Eightieth-Birthday Celebration," The New Yorker, March 20, 2013
Origin of paralipsis
The rhetorical term paralipsis comes from Late Latin paralīpsis, which dates from the 3rd century and is a direct borrowing of Greek paráleipsis, a rhetorical term used and possibly coined by Aristotle in his Rhetoric to Alexander (also known by its Latin title Rhetorica ad Alexandrum). Preterition and apophasis are equivalent terms. Paralipsis entered English in the 16th century.