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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.


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


(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.


- 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.


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


The act of breaking off midway through a sentence as if unwilling or unable to continue .
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)
References in periodicals archive ?
Aposiopesis is cutting off an expression midway, such as "If life gives you lemons .
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.
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.
The deferential aposiopesis that follows affirms Apollo's superior authority, but Castor nevertheless expresses doubt about the wisdom of the Delphic god's oracular mandate: "Phoebus, Phoebus .
Repetition, stammering and aposiopesis become recurrent features as, for Sandra Gilbert, the impossibility of elegy makes "iteration and (re)iteration of the attributes of events the only available tribute to the war's inescapable factuality (27)".
Daniel Sada construia su cosmos en el aire con la desaforada riqueza verbal que fue uno de sus sellos, con la sintaxis peculiar y preciosista que desembocaba con frecuencia en gracejos deslumbrantes, rudos, guinolescos, imprevisibles y mordaces; con esa puntuacion caracteristica que llevo hasta sus limites el recurso formal de la aposiopesis, subclase de la elipsis que insertaba pausas de donaire; cambios de ritmo que introducian pies quebrados entre la profusion de octosilabos, alejandrinos, endecasilabos; sincopas que daban una extrana vivacidad a sus entreveradas frases.
When Oliver Goldsmith's Citizen of the World witnesses a tragedy-queen conveniently fall "into a fit," his companion exclaims upon the "horrors" evoked in spectators by this "true aposiopesis of modern tragedy.
aposiopesis and erotema); punctuation; plain style; adverbs (e.
One graphological deviation is the division of the clause into two lines: Humanity' in one line and i hate you' in a separate last line with some space between the two that creates a dramatic pause known in rhetoric as aposiopesis (Gk.
13) Both rhetorical devices notably enhance the corporeal dimensions of expression and speech; for a further elaboration of the significance and recurrence of the aposiopesis and ellipsis in Barker's work see Elisabeth Angel-Perez's "Facing Defacement" and Thomas Freeland's "The End of Rhetoric and the Residuum of Pain," respectively.
71) Polynices' aposiopesis at this moment indicates his shame.