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Dec 10, 2010
This week's theme
What to avoid when using words

This week's words
pleonasm
apophasis
sesquipedality
periphrasis
paralipsis

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Words made with combining forms
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A.Word.A.Day
with Anu Garg

paralipsis

PRONUNCIATION:
(par-uh-LIP-sis)

MEANING:
noun: Drawing attention to something while claiming to be passing over it.

ETYMOLOGY:
From Latin paralipsis, from Greek paraleipsis (an omission), from paraleipein (to leave on one side), from para- (side) + leipein (to leave). First recorded use: 1550.

NOTES:
Paralipsis is especially handy in politics to point out an opponent's faults. It typically involves these phrases:
"not to mention"
"to say nothing of"
"I won't speak of"
"leaving aside"

USAGE:
"Political correctness has breathed new life into the paralepsis, the rhetorical device whereby we make a statement by first announcing that we are not going to make it. When pundits write 'No one is suggesting...' the American eye reads 'I'm suggesting.'"
Florence King; If 'Words Mean Things', Then All is Lost; Times-Dispatch (Richmond, Virginia); Feb 19, 1995.

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

A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:
When one has been threatened with a great injustice, one accepts a smaller as a favour. -Jane Welsh Carlyle, letter writer (1801-1866)

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