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Dec 7, 2010
This week's theme
What to avoid when using words

This week's words
pleonasm
apophasis
sesquipedality
periphrasis
paralipsis

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A.Word.A.Day
with Anu Garg

apophasis

PRONUNCIATION:
(uh-POF-uh-sis)

MEANING:
noun: Allusion to something by denying it will be said.

ETYMOLOGY:
Via Latin from Greek apophanai (to say no), from apo- (away from) + phanai (to say). Ultimately from the Indo-European root bha- (to speak) that is also the source of fable, phone, fame, boon, and infant. First recorded use: 1657.

USAGE:
"There is almost no complaint that Ralph Nader and Dear Abby won't listen to, but I don't remember either of them ever tried to do anything about a dangling participle or a badly mixed metaphor, not to mention damnable apophasis."
Jack Smith; Hey, Watch That Language!; Milwaukee Journal (Wisconsin); Nov 11, 1974.

"It's an Afghan apophasis. By claiming he does not want to participate in a political process that is hopelessly overrun with corruption, Abdullah is acknowledging just the opposite -- that he very much wants power and influence in the Afghan political realm." Teddy Minch; Well Now What?; The Tufts Daily (Medford, Massachusetts); Nov 4, 2009.

See more usage examples of apophasis in Vocabulary.com's dictionary.

A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:
Would the boy you were be proud of the man you are? -Laurence J. Peter, educator and author (1919-1990)

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