Use this forum to discuss past Good Words.
User avatar
Dr. Goodword
Site Admin
Posts: 4562
Joined: Wed Feb 02, 2005 9:28 am
Location: Lewisburg, PA


Postby Dr. Goodword » Fri Jul 08, 2011 11:12 pm

• aposiopesis •

Pronunciation: æ-pê-si-ê-pee-sis • Hear it!

Part of Speech: Noun

Meaning: A sudden breaking off of a thought in mid sentence, as though the speaker were unwilling or unable to continue.

Notes: Have you ever begun a sentence and, halfway through, suddenly realize you shouldn't be uttering it? Perhaps you were breaking a confidence or embarrassing whomever you weretalking with. When you stop speaking and change the subject, you have committed aposiopesis. The adjective is aposiopetic; the adverb, aposiopetically.

In Play: Some adages are so familiar, repeating them in toto is unnecessary, so we often say things like, "Early to bed, early to rise . . . ", omitting "makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise." That is aposiopesis. It is aposiopesis even if we replace the omitted material with a bland substitute such as, "Marjorie, your new dress is so . . . well, interesting." Clearly, the real sense the speaker wishes to express is being withheld. Again, aposiopesis.

Word History: English essentially confiscated this word whole from Late Latin aposiopesis. The Romans picked up the word from Greek aposiopan "to become silent", made up of apo-, an intensive prefix meaning "very" or "suddenly", + siopan "to be silent", a verb built from siope "silence". The Greeks inherited the word from a Proto-Indo-European root that may have also become German schweigen "be silent" with a different suffix, a -g instead of -p. (We cannot be silent any longer; we must thank Katy Brezger for suggesting today's word.)
• The Good Dr. Goodword

User avatar
Grand Panjandrum
Posts: 5337
Joined: Thu Sep 28, 2006 9:31 am
Location: Finger Lakes, NY


Postby Slava » Sun Sep 09, 2012 8:32 pm

This would be a great concept for many e-mailers and board posters to learn: stop and think before you hit enter or send. So much drivel is sent and posted that the Internet at times feels like the Internot, a total waste of time.

Aposiopesis - learn it and use it!
Life is like playing chess with chessmen who each have thoughts and feelings and motives of their own.

Grand Panjandrum
Posts: 1079
Joined: Mon Apr 05, 2010 11:40 am
Location: Pasadena


Postby MTC » Mon Sep 10, 2012 6:16 am

Yes, aposiopesis, a good word to know, but having so little to do with drivel on the Internet that... well, er, I'd rather not say.

Philip Hudson
Grand Panjandrum
Posts: 2051
Joined: Thu Feb 23, 2006 4:41 am
Location: Texas


Postby Philip Hudson » Mon Sep 10, 2012 6:57 pm

Isn't aposiopesis a mental defect from which I and many others suffer?
It is dark at night, but the Sun will come up and then we can see.

Return to “Good Word Discussion”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests