This blog is for everyone who uses words.

The ordinary-sized words are for everyone, but the big ones are especially for children.

Wednesday, 17 May 2017

Nuts and Bolts: paralipsis.

Paralipsis is a lovely word, a moonlight-and-nightingales sound to be whispered to one's own true love as the shades deepen.

File:Albert Pinkham Ryder - The Lovers' Boat (c.1881).jpg
Painting "The Lovers' Boat" by Albert Pinkham Ryder

And if what you were whispering was 'never leave me, my darling, for I would be left in anguish and darkness, not to mention the fact that I'd delete you as the beneficiary of my pension scheme,' then, while not using the word paralipsis itself, you'd be using it as a figure of speech.

For paralipsis involves drawing attention to something while pretending it's not worth mentioning. It might be ushered in with the words it goes without saying, or leaving aside, or I refuse to discuss, or needless to say, or it is not my place to criticise, or, as above, not to mention.

The number of ways of saying it shows how common it is. It's crafty, too: I'm not going to call him an idiot

I won't bring up your infidelity because that's all water under the bridge.

I'm not even thinking about the cost.

Finally, obviously, there's no need to tell you that paralipsis is also sometimes called apophasis. 

Is there?

Thing to use today: paralipsis. This word is Latin and means neglect, from the Greek paraleipein, to leave aside. 

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