ap·​o·​si·​o·​pe·​sis ˌa-pə-ˌsī-ə-ˈpē-səs How to pronounce aposiopesis (audio)
plural aposiopeses ˌa-pə-ˌsī-ə-ˈpē-ˌsēz How to pronounce aposiopesis (audio)
: the leaving of a thought incomplete usually by a sudden breaking off (as in "his behavior was—but I blush to mention that")
aposiopetic adjective

Word History


Late Latin, from Greek aposiōpēsis, from aposiōpan to be fully silent, from apo- + siōpan to be silent, from siōpē silence

First Known Use

1577, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of aposiopesis was in 1577

Dictionary Entries Near aposiopesis

Cite this Entry

“Aposiopesis.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/aposiopesis. Accessed 26 Mar. 2023.

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