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Aposiopesis Definition

Aposiopesis is the term, coined by Otto Jespersen, for the rhetorical device by which the speaker or writer deliberately stops short and leaves something unexpressed, but yet obvious, to be supplied by the imagination, giving the impression that she is unwilling or unable to continue. It often portrays being overcome with passion (fear, anger, excitement) or modesty. The ellipsis or dash is used.


Aposiopesis Poem Example

Quos ego—!


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Other Aposiopesis Definition

[n] breaking off in the middle of a sentence (as by writers of realistic conversations)

See Also...

rhetorical device

Misc. Definitions

\Ap`o*si`o*pe"sis\ (?; 277), n. [L., fr. Gr. ?, from ? to be quite silent.] (Rhet.) A figure of speech in which the speaker breaks off suddenly, as if unwilling or unable to state what was in his mind; as, ``I declare to you that his conduct -- but I can not speak of that, here.''

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