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apophasis

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Feb. 25th, 2019 | 07:47 am

apophasis (uh-POF-uh-sis) - n., (rhet.) the rhetorical device of mentioning a subject by stating that it will not be discussed.


Also called praeteritio/preterition, paraleipsis/paralipsis, and occupatio. This can be done disingenuously: "I will not discuss the rumors that my opponent is a philanderer and adulterer, because this election will be decided not on character but on the issues." A more legitimate use is "Of course, I do not need to mention that you should bring a No. 2 pencil to the exam." It can also be used to not-discuss a taboo subject: "We are all loyal to the emperor, so wouldn't dare to claim that his new clothes are a transparent hoax." Like most rhetorical terms, from Greek, specifically apóphanai, denial to say no, deny, lit. say no, from apo-, away from/off + phánai, to say.

---L.

Crossposts: https://prettygoodword.dreamwidth.org/759004.html
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