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aposiopesis

Syllabification: ap·o·si·o·pe·sis
Pronunciation: /ˌapəˌsīəˈpēsis
 
/

Definition of aposiopesis in English:

noun (plural aposiopeses /-sēz/)

Rhetoric
The device of suddenly breaking off in speech.
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.

Origin

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

Derivatives

aposiopetic

1
Pronunciation: /-ˈpetik/
adjective
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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