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n. pl. ap·o·si·o·pe·ses (-sēz)
A sudden breaking off of a thought in the middle of a sentence, as though the speaker were unwilling or unable to continue.

[Late Latin aposiōpēsis, from Greek, from aposiōpān, to become silent : apo-, intensive pref.; see apo- + siōpān, to be silent (from siōpē, silence).]

ap′o·si′o·pet′ic (-pĕt′ĭk) adj.
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.


n, pl -ses (-siːz)
(Rhetoric) rhetoric the device of suddenly breaking off in the middle of a sentence as if unwilling to continue
[C16: via Late Latin from Greek, from aposiōpaein to be totally silent, from siōpaein to be silent]
aposiopetic adj
Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged, 12th Edition 2014 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2014


(ˌæp əˌsaɪ əˈpi sɪs)

n., pl. -ses (-sēz).
a sudden breaking off in the midst of a thought, as if from inability or unwillingness to proceed, as in “You'll never believe - but of course you won't.”
[1570–80; < Late Latin < Greek: literally, a full silence <apo- apo- + siōpáein to be silent]
ap`o•si`o•pet′ic (-ˈpɛt ɪk) adj.
Random House Kernerman Webster's College Dictionary, © 2010 K Dictionaries Ltd. Copyright 2005, 1997, 1991 by Random House, Inc. All rights reserved.


- Stopping in the middle of a statement upon realizing that someone's feelings are hurt or about to be hurt; when a sentence trails off or falls silent, that is an aposiopesis.
See also related terms for hurt.
Farlex Trivia Dictionary. © 2012 Farlex, Inc. All rights reserved.


a sudden breaking off in the middle of a sentence as if unable or unwilling to proceed. — aposiopetic, adj.
See also: Rhetoric and Rhetorical Devices
-Ologies & -Isms. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


The act of breaking off midway through a sentence as if unwilling or unable to continue .
Dictionary of Unfamiliar Words by Diagram Group Copyright © 2008 by Diagram Visual Information Limited
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.aposiopesis - breaking off in the middle of a sentence (as by writers of realistic conversations)
rhetorical device - a use of language that creates a literary effect (but often without regard for literal significance)
Based on WordNet 3.0, Farlex clipart collection. © 2003-2012 Princeton University, Farlex Inc.
References in periodicals archive ?
Daphne amassed rare ones (rebarbative, hendiadys, aposiopesis) in her notebook, the same way other kids collect sea glass or baseball cards.
SUDDENLY A LEDGE-- Another approach is aposiopesis, or interruption of thought, indicated by either an ellipsis or an em-dash, which also leaves the reader something to fill in.
Measured Silence: Hopkins's Aposiopesis and Browning's "Breakdown"
The rhetorical approach begins by looking at silence as a consequence of syntactic breaks, which suspend the end of an utterance, a figure called aposiopesis in rhetoric.
(10) Julie Bokser analyzes the rhetoric of silence, or aposiopesis, in regards to the Respuesta in "Sor Juana's Rhetoric of Silence."
Aposiopesis": that is, that "figure of silence, or of
Aposiopesis is cutting off an expression midway, such as "If life gives you lemons ..." This quiz combines both.
We can see examples of enallage of person, erotema or rhetorical question, exclamation or ecphonesis, prosopopeia, aposiopesis, and prolepsis.
Indeed, the use of aposiopesis, the breaking off in the middle of a sentence to extinguish the light, the narrative passage foregrounds a conflation between the realist tradition and the tropes of a genre that had not yet been conceived.
(20.) Corcoran links Lady Naylors aposiopesis to a poetics of ellipsis that figures a history of colonial exploitation and violence largely repressed by the Anglo-Irish characters.
What occurs in the section entitled "Disintegration" has come to be perhaps the most notorious section of Johnson's prose--the "almighty aposiopesis" where illusion is petulantly dropped.