Saturday, March 7, 2009


paralipsis \ˌpa-rə-ˈlip-sis\ noun: A figure of speech in which a speaker or writer emphasizes a subject by pretending to pass it over

Example: I don't even want to talk about the allegations that my political opponent is a drunk.

Example: We will not speak of all Queequeg's peculiarities here; how he eschewed coffee and hot rolls, and applied his undivided attention to beefsteaks, done rare. —Herman Melville, Moby Dick

Etymology: Ancient Greek paraleipsis omission, from paraleipō I pass over, from para by, near + leipō I leave

Some common phrases used to introduce paralipses are “not to mention, ” “to say nothing of, ” “needless to say, ” “leaving aside, ” and “without considering.” But many of these have lost their rhetorical power through overuse; today not to mention is merely another way of saying and, as in “she is talented, not to mention rich.”

No comments: