What is the Latin name of this rhetorical device?
August 20, 2007 6:18 PM   Subscribe

What is the formal Latin name of this rhetorical device?

I've been wracking my brain trying to remember the name of a rhetorical device in which you bring up a subject under the guise of dismissing it. For instance, "of course, we won't mention my opponent's well-publicized drinking problems, as they have no relevance to this debate."

I'm quite certain there is a Latin name for this particular device, but I can't remember it and my Google-fu is failing me. I believe it is usually classified as a form of ad hominem fallacy, but I can't seem to dig it up.
posted by whir to Writing & Language (12 answers total) 17 users marked this as a favorite
 
Preterition or praeterition.
posted by ikkyu2 at 6:25 PM on August 20, 2007


Er, in case it's not obvious, the actual Latin word for this is praeteritio. Cicero indulged in it quite a bit.
posted by ikkyu2 at 6:27 PM on August 20, 2007


Also known as paraleipsis.
posted by cerebus19 at 6:27 PM on August 20, 2007


Paralipsis
posted by mumkin at 6:28 PM on August 20, 2007


I don't know it as a rhetorical device, such as those found here, but it is a species of an ad hominem fallacy called "poisoning the well" which is described as a boobytrap in the link.
posted by Brian B. at 6:30 PM on August 20, 2007


Paralipsis, as well as apophasis, are Greek words, not Latin.
posted by ikkyu2 at 6:32 PM on August 20, 2007 [2 favorites]


(This is a GREAT reference for rhetorical terms.)
posted by fiercecupcake at 7:50 PM on August 20, 2007 [3 favorites]


Yes, definitely paralepsis (and definitely Greek)
posted by briank at 5:51 AM on August 21, 2007


Another good reference: Fallacy Files
posted by Myself at 5:53 AM on August 21, 2007


Nthing "paraleipsis."
posted by adamrice at 6:35 AM on August 21, 2007


Thanks all! As it turns out, the phrase I particularly had in mind when I posted this was the (Greek) cataphasis, which I found along with several other specific varieties of paralipsis at the Silva Rhetoricae site that firecupcake linked.

For some reason, almost every example I could find online involves a drinking problem of some sort.
posted by whir at 10:01 AM on August 21, 2007


er, "fiercecupcake", not "firecupcake," sorry...
posted by whir at 10:10 AM on August 21, 2007


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