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Dr. Goodword
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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.)
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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.

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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
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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.

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