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aposiopesis Line breaks: apo|sio¦pesis
Pronunciation: /ˌapə(ʊ)ˌsʌɪəˈpiːsɪs/

Definition of aposiopesis in English:

noun (plural aposiopeses ˌapə(ʊ)ˌsʌɪəˈpiːsiːz)

[mass noun] Rhetoric
The device of suddenly breaking off in speech: in coping with the unsaid and unsayable, oral history is impelled towards aposiopesis
More example sentences
  • She uses the dash in the traditional manner, marking pauses, aposiopesis, and rhetorical transitions, but she also uses it in a non-traditional manner.
  • This wouldn't be much of a play, so Donaghy tells it in stammers and dithers, fragmented verbiage and non sequiturs, inchoate bits and overlapping dialogue, aposiopesis and time lags (a question is answered three or four lines later).
  • In ancient Greek rhetoric, the aposiopesis occasionally takes the form of a pause before a change of subject or a digression.


Late 16th century: via Latin from Greek aposiōpēsis, from aposiōpan 'be silent'.



Pronunciation: /ˌapə(ʊ)ˌsʌɪəˈpɛtɪk/
Example sentences
  • It's a lot easier for a woman to speak when she's not in a partnership; that may be increasingly true for men too, as Gabe's aposiopetic episode above indicates.
  • But this moment of the closet's imminent rupture is quickly foreclosed by the telegraphist's aposiopetic gesture("Your danger, your danger--]"), the full particularization of which Everard pre-empts by claiming, "That's where it is]"
  • Any suggestions about the ravages of "trashing it up," as the Ken-doll-like character Robert calls it, are silenced as Greg vanishes with an aposiopetic form of advice conveyed from Nick's dead mother: "`If you go on a trip, make sure to take-"'

Definition of aposiopesis in:

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