I would never mention paralipsis ……


One has to like all the politics going on, if for nothing else than all the news words or terms you can learn.

Take for instance paralipsis, now you may already be aware of what this word is. But even if it is unknown to you, chances are you have heard or even used that term.

The use of a sign that says “ignore this sign” or a shirt that says “ignore this shirt”, these are of course a form of irony. And that is one intent of paralipsis.

The dictionary gives the meaning as: “the device of giving emphasis by professing to say little or nothing about a subject”

The word traced goes back to Late Latin with paralīpsis .. but that is not the end, the word goes then further back to the Greek origin paráleipsis meaning “omitting”

So what does that mean? Easy you call attention to something about another person or item by saying you will not mention it yet you do.


There was a TV law show years ago, where the prosecutor sneaks in a visual that you know will sit in the minds of the jury. The defendant’s lawyer then gets up and tells everyone to clear their mind and think only of a blue elephant. After a few seconds the attorney tells them to forget the blue elephant. Can you? No that elephant is still in the room.

Once something is said it is set in stone… thus why you see politicians or adversaries use this tactic to insult sneakily their oppositions.

Paralipsis can be used in a very degrading manner by the tone and specific use of words. It can also be used to make a point without the person feeling they have done something improper by noting the faults.

I love to slide these into the book though I am not that great at it as I keep refining them. I tend to use the paralipsis as slams.. insulting another but looking so prim and proper you want to bop the person.

I have one character that does demean with little quips but without realizing what he is doing is truly insulting. Yea he is a bit of a narcissist but one that can be redeemed. Our hero of the hour, has a tendency not to pull punches yet lets a lot slide as not to be in needless fights that are draining. However after a time when he draws weary of the jabs, he then speaks up “Then why mention it? Stand up like a man, have some guts and insult a person in the eye. You fool no one.”

Need I say those two “brothers” in the book, have many a discussion, both physical and verbal, until they learn to work out the differences, grow up , and acknowledge there is more important elements in the world than their hurt feelings…. even characters can learn to “grow up”

Some examples of paralipsis:

“Nice new boots, I am not even going to mention that you borrowed a hundred off me yesterday for food.”

“It is better not to mention that incident.”

“I’m keeping silent about all the inconveniences this project has cost me.”

“I will not even mention that my boss has his mistress on the payroll as a vacation allowance.”

“I am not saying this mess is yours, but clean it up anyways.”

“That is not for me to say. I would have them think about their actions in the accompanying implosion and then make your own decision.”

“I don’t mean to suggest that she is a blonde for obvious reasons….

“I am not even going to bring up how late you were.”

“I don’t have to remind you that he knew people in prison.”

“I don’t want to embarrass his family, so I won’t mention what Harry did outside.”

“Far be it from me to mention her husband’s many infidelities.”

“It goes without saying that he has had an adultery problem, but that is not for me to judge”

“Now I might say he has had some inklings of positive qualities, however his internal fortitude is corrupt and this concerns me to omit those minor instances.”

“If you want a cat that is fine, I am not going to mention the fact I am deadly allergic.”

“It’s not polite to talk about it. So I won’t mention he had an affair and went bankrupt.”

“Let’s pass over his unusual lifestyle that may not match ours. It is not good to dwell on his want of earthy desires.”

“I refuse to point out that you have no morals or ethics…”

“I needn’t mention she is a drug addict.”

“Congratulations on the success of your new business. I would be reprehensible in reminding people of the method you used to obtain your money.”

“I know who did it, so I won’t mention Harry’s name.”

“I will only speak about my opponent’s good side at this time.”

“I surely need not remind you to get your Christmas shopping done early this year.”

“I refuse to speak or dwell upon my opponent’s many affairs, his love of alcoholic beverages, nor his ability to raise money from the lowest criminal element.”


About jasterling

One part of my life is in the science of anthropology and archaeology where I did comparative work. My other life that I am now pursuing is writing along the lines of fantasy/sci fi fictional writing as my one way to stay sane in this other insane world. Please enjoy the selections you will find in my blog.
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