aposiopesis

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English[edit]

Etymology[edit]

From Latin aposiopesis, from Ancient Greek ἀποσιώπησις (aposiṓpēsis), from ἀποσιωπάω (aposiōpáō, be silent), from ἀπό (apó, off, from) + σιωπάω (siōpáō, to be silent).

Pronunciation[edit]

  • IPA(key): /ˌæpəsaɪəˈpiːsɪs/

Noun[edit]

aposiopesis (plural aposiopeses)

  1. (rhetoric) An abrupt breaking-off in speech.
    • 1760, Laurence Sterne, The Life & Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman:
      “My sister, mayhap, quoth my uncle Toby, does not choose to let a man come so near her * * * *” Make this dash,——‘tis an Aposiopesis.—Take the dash away, and write Backside,—’tis Bawdy.
    • 1957, Samuel Beckett, Murphy, page 164:
      "Have fire in this garret before night or — / " He stopped because he could not go on. It was an aposiopesis of the purest kind.
    • 1982, John Fowles, Mantissa:
      This somewhat abrupt ending (or aposiopesis) is caused by a previous movement from the figure on the bed.

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