Aposiopesis



a sudden breaking off in the midst of a sentence, as if from inability or unwillingness to proceed.
Historical Examples

There is perhaps an aposiopesis here; otherwise I should incline to read touch, as Mr. Knight and Collier’s folio also read.
The Shakespeare-Expositor: An Aid to the Perfect Understanding of Shakespeare’s Plays Thomas Keightley

His aposiopesis suggested that there would be uproar and danger to life.
The Education of Eric Lane Stephen McKenna

The aposiopesis here is in character with Hotspur, but there may be a line or more lost.
The Shakespeare-Expositor: An Aid to the Perfect Understanding of Shakespeare’s Plays Thomas Keightley

The aposiopesis was alarming, and Blarden’s direction was obeyed instantaneously.
The Cock and Anchor Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu

Though in my edition I have made here an aposiopesis, I think it more probable that a line has been lost.
The Shakespeare-Expositor: An Aid to the Perfect Understanding of Shakespeare’s Plays Thomas Keightley

Eustathius, and Clarke after him, understand an aposiopesis here, as if the speaker meant to say—what if there should be?
The Odyssey of Homer Homer

A line at least has, I think, been left out after the first; or there may be an aposiopesis.
The Shakespeare-Expositor: An Aid to the Perfect Understanding of Shakespeare’s Plays Thomas Keightley

There may be a line lost here; I make in preference an aposiopesis.
The Shakespeare-Expositor: An Aid to the Perfect Understanding of Shakespeare’s Plays Thomas Keightley

There is either an aposiopesis or a line lost after this; I think the latter.
The Shakespeare-Expositor: An Aid to the Perfect Understanding of Shakespeare’s Plays Thomas Keightley

The aposiopesis, so suited to the hasty, impetuous character of the speaker, makes all clear.
The Shakespeare-Expositor: An Aid to the Perfect Understanding of Shakespeare’s Plays Thomas Keightley

noun (pl) -ses (-siːz)
(rhetoric) the device of suddenly breaking off in the middle of a sentence as if unwilling to continue
n.

rhetorical artifice wherein the speaker suddenly breaks off in the middle of a sentence, 1570s, from Latin, from Greek aposiopesis “a becoming silent,” also as a rhetorical figure, from apo- (see apo-) + siope “silence.”

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